CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his crew were arrested while broadcasting live on air Friday morning from the scene of the overnight protests in Minneapolis.
Jimenez was reporting on the network’s “New Day” a little after 6 a.m. ET when he was approached by state troopers in riot gear. Jimenez identified himself as a reporter with CNN and repeatedly offered to move locations at the officers’ request, but they interrupted him to inform him he was being arrested.
“We’re speaking with state patrol right now, give us a second, guys,” said Jimenez when talking with police, whose side of the conversation was muffled. “We can move back to where you’d like. We are live on the air at the moment. It’s the four of us, we are one team. Just put us back where you want us, we’re getting back out of your way – just let us know. Wherever you’d want us, we will go, we were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection. Just let us know and we got you.”
Jimenez was then handcuffed and led away.
“If you’re just tuning in, you are watching our correspondent Omar Jimenez being arrested by state police in Minnesota,” said anchor Alisyn Camerota. “We’re not sure why our correspondent is being arrested.”
Shortly after, CNN aired an audio report from correspondent Josh Campbell, who was a few blocks away, and said he had been approached by police and after identifying himself as a CNN reporter was allowed to stay on the scene.
“Josh, it’s impossible not to note the difference,” Camerota said. “You are a white guy, Omar Jimenez identifies as black and Latino. ... It’s just impossible not to note the difference here.”
The network put out a statement just before 7 a.m. ET reading: “A CNN reporter & his production team were arrested this morning in Minneapolis for doing their jobs, despite identifying themselves — a clear violation of their First Amendment rights. The authorities in Minnesota, incl. the Governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately.”
About an hour later, Jimenez was released and was back on the air, describing his treatment as “pretty cordial.”
“As far as the people that were leading me away, there was no animosity. ... We were having a conversation about just how crazy this week has been for every part of this city.” The network reported that the governor of Minnesota had apologized.
The state police said the crew — who were carrying identification and broadcasting live at the time — “were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.” CNN issued a statement calling this version of events “not accurate.”
The protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody on Monday, escalated overnight and included the burning of a police precinct station, which had been evacuated by the police. The four officers involved with the death were fired, but on Thursday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he would not rush in pressing charges against them, stating that “there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge.”
Freeman’s office later issued a clarification to that comment, saying it is being misinterpreted.
“To clarify, County Attorney Freeman was saying that it is critical to review all the evidence because at the time of trial, invariably, all that information will be used,” the attorney’s office said. “Evidence not favorable to our case needs to be carefully examined to understand the full picture of what actually happened.”
Derek Chauvin, the officer who was videotaped kneeling on Floyd’s neck while the 46-year-old repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe, had over a dozen police conduct complaints in his 19-year career but was never disciplined.
There was also a large demonstration in Louisville, Ky., Thursday night, as residents protested the March 13 death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot while asleep in her apartment by three police officers serving a “no knock” warrant.
According to a lawsuit filed by the family, the police fired more than 20 rounds in the apartment. Taylor was hit eight times and pronounced dead at the scene. The officers were looking for a drug suspect who lived 10 miles away and was already in police custody, according to the Courier-Journal. Taylor’s boyfriend, who was in the apartment with her, fired at the officers, apparently mistaking them for burglars.
Seven people in Louisville were shot during the protests, which went into Friday morning. Mayor Greg Fischer said two were taken into surgery and five were in good condition.
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