CNN Reporter And Crew Arrested On Live TV While Reporting In Minneapolis
“We can move back to where you’d like, we are live on the air at the moment ... Put us back where you want us, we were getting out of your way, so just let us know. Wherever you want us, we will go.”
A CNN reporter and his camera crew were arrested by Minnesota state police live on television Friday morning while reporting from Minneapolis on the days of unrest following the in-custody death of George Floyd.
CNN reporter Omar Jimenez can be seen and heard explaining to officers that he and his team crossed the street per the officers' orders, adding that they were willing to move wherever the officers wanted them.
“We can move back to where you’d like, we are live on the air at the moment,” Jimenez tells the police officers. “Put us back where you want us, we were getting out of your way, so just let us know. Wherever you want us, we will go.”
Jimenez can be seen and heard telling police he is a CNN reporter. As Jimenez explained to the camera what was going on, an officer put him in handcuffs and said he was being arrested.
"Do you mind telling me why I am under arrest?" Jimenez asked. An officer walked him away from the crew without answering, and officers then arrested two remaining CNN crewmembers. Pools of smoke in the air are visible in the streets behind them, and dozens of officers can be seen standing in an intersection.
After the CNN videographer set the camera on the ground so he could be handcuffed, an officer began to carry the camera away, seemingly unaware it was still recording, and set it back on the ground.
The video of the arrests show the reporter and crew repeatedly asking why they were being arrested, but the officers did not give an explanation. An anchor in the CNN studio then says the police claimed the reason for the arrest was because the group did not move after being told to do so. The on-air video clearly shows the crew telling police they would move wherever they were told.
"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," CNN said in a statement.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz told CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker that he apologizes for the arrest and that "he is working to have the CNN crew released immediately," CNN reported. Jimenez was released and back on the air just after 6:30 a.m. local time.
While in custody, Jimenez asked what the protocol would be in the days following. He said an officer told him, "I don't know, man, I'm just following orders."
The crew was in Minneapolis covering the days-long civil unrest that began after a video was released showing a white officer kneeling on a Black man’s neck and choking him before he died. Protests evolved into sheer chaos over the course of several days, with people setting fire to a police precinct near where Floyd was arrested Thursday night. At least 100 small businesses were reportedly damaged on Wednesday night, according to the Star Tribune.
Also on Thursday night, President Trump wrote a series of tweets threatening to send in the National Guard to “get the job done right, “and that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Twitter responded overnight by placing a warning on the tweet, hiding it from immediate visibility in the Twitter feed and preventing replies and likes to the tweet, saying it “violated Twitter rules about glorifying violence.”
The White House Twitter account posted that same tweet Friday morning.