CNN journalist Omar Jimenez was arrested on Friday morning during a live broadcast at the site of the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis, after clearly identifying himself to law enforcement.
In addition to Jimenez, a CNN producer and a camera operator were also taken into police custody shortly after 6 am ET. Their camera was seized by officers, but continued to record what was happening while they were being handcuffed.
As seen in the video above, a group of cops in riot gear approached Jimenez, who identified himself as a reporter and politely asked where the officers would like him and his crew to stand so they wouldn’t be in their way. Jimenez was then placed under arrest without further explanation. In response to the arrests, CNN put out the following statement, which read: “A CNN reporter and 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, including the Governor, must release the three CNN employees immediately.”
Jimenez and his crew were released from custody less than two hours later, and Jimenez was back on air. Minnesota governor Tim Walz told CNN on Friday morning that the arrests were “unacceptable” and that he “deeply apologizes” for what happened to Jimenez.
Jimenez was reporting from Minneapolis following a third day of protests against the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man who died on Monday after an encounter with Minneapolis police — one of whom had pinned Floyd to the ground by leaning a knee on his neck. On Thursday night, protesters had taken over the Minneapolis Police Department’s third precinct and set the building on fire.
After Jimenez was taken into custody, CNN tweeted that Jimenez, a black reporter, was arrested while legally covering the protests, while fellow CNN employee Josh Campbell, a white reporter also on the ground, was not. “My experience has been the opposite of what Omar just experienced there,” Campbell said. “I identified myself [to police], I told them who I was with, and they said, ‘OK, you’re permitted to be in this area…’ Again, the police knew who our crew was [and] who they consisted of. They saw the camera, they saw the live shot in progress. Omar identified himself very politely, and yet they still… made that arrest.”