A reporter for CNN and his camera crew were arrested on live television Friday morning (May 29) while covering the protests in Minneapolis over the killing of George Floyd.
Black correspondent Omar Jimenez had just shown a protester being handcuffed when all of a sudden he was surrounded by a group of Minnesota State Patrol officers.
Jimenez could be heard telling the officers: “We can move back to where you like.”
With his press badge in hand, Jimenez then explained that he and his crew were members of the press and told the cops: “Put us back where you want us, we’re getting out of your way.”
At that point, Jimenez was told he was under arrest before being handcuffed and led away. It was a shocking scene that played out live on the air.
CNN took to Twitter not long afterward demanding the release of the journalist and his crew.
“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 network tweeted. “The authorities in Minnesota, incl. the governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately.”
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.
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) May 29, 2020
About an hour-and-a-half after he was placed into handcuffs, Jimenez was released from police custody and was back on air after CNN president Jeff Zucker reached out to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, who apologized for arresting Jimenez and said he took full responsibility for what happened.
Live now on CNN as reported by @JohnBerman: CNN president Jeff Zucker spoke to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz who apologized for State Police’s arrest of @OmarJimenez and our team. He is working to get them released. Walz said he takes full responsibility for what happened.
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) May 29, 2020
CNN reporter, Omar Jimenez, and the camera crew have been released from police custody. He details the arrest and what happened while they were in custody.
Says that they were not given an apology from officers but “they were pretty cordial.” pic.twitter.com/FwJg0Q2tpb
— THE NEIGHBORHOOD TALK (@TNHTalk) May 29, 2020
Omar Jimenez is a CNN correspondent based in Chicago. He has been working with the network since 2017.
His arrest and subsequent release came after Thursday marked the third night of rioting in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd—a black man who was captured on video begging for his life and telling a group of Minneapolis police officers “I can’t breathe!” as they arrested him for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 at a nearby deli.
Early Friday morning, just after midnight, President Trump took to Twitter to express his outrage over the protests after news surfaced that rioters had set fire to a Minneapolis police precinct, calling the demonstrators “THUGS” and threatening to order members of the U.S. National Guard to shoot them if necessary.
“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right,” Trump tweeted.
“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2020