CNN crew released after being arrested live on air while reporting on Minneapolis protests
CNN's Omar Jimenez and his crew were released after being arrested Friday by Minneapolis state police while reporting on the protests that followed the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in the city.
What happened: CNN anchors said Jimenez and his crew were arrested for not moving after being told to by police, though the live footage prior to their arrests clearly shows Jimenez talking calmly with police and offering to move wherever necessary.
- CNN producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez were arrested alongside Jimenez.
- Jimenez could be heard telling law enforcement before his arrest, "We can move back to where you like. ... We are getting of your way. Just let us know, wherever you'd want us let us know. We were getting out of your way when you were advancing the intersection."
- Jimenez said that the officers were "pretty cordial" after his arrest, showed "no animosity" and weren't violent. He said he was told by the officer who led him away, "Look, I don't know, man. I'm just following orders."
Watch Jimenez live on air after his release, discussing the arrest:
The state of play: CNN reporter Josh Campbell was also reporting live in the area and noted he had also been approached by the police.
- "I mean, it's unbelievable what's happening here. I was approached by the police here near the police station. One came up to me and asked who I was. I identified myself as a journalist. They asked what station. I told them CNN. They said, 'Okay, you're good.' They're pushing everyone else. A much different situation than what occurred with Omar Jimenez."
- CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota noted, "It's just impossible not to note the difference. You are a white guy. Omar Jimenez identifies as black and Latino. Since the police didn't give us much of an explanation for what they were doing against the backdrop of these fires burning and George Floyd's death, it's impossible not to note the difference here."
What they're saying: CNN President Jeff Zucker spoke with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, and CNN anchor John Berman said that Walz "deeply apologizes for what happened. He is going to have the team released. ... The governor accepts full responsibility."
- The network called the arrests a "clear violation of their First Amendment rights" and called for the crew's immediate release.
- CNN reporter Abby Phillip tweeted: "Watching my friend and colleague being surrounded by police and arrested while doing his job live on tv. ... I just can’t. @OmarJimenez conducted himself with incredible professionalism in a truly terrifying situation."
- CNN legal analyst Elie Honig tweeted: "If and when these absurd charges are dropped against @OmarJimenez and his crew, we need to know who specifically authorized the arrests in the first place. Somebody gave a green light. Could be prosecutor, could be police supervisor. How high did this decision go? Name names."
The bottom line: "The one thing that gave me a little bit of comfort is that it happened on live TV. ... That speaks to the power of having something happen on camera because you can have people speak up for you without you saying anything. ... You don't have to doubt my story. It's not filtered in any sort of way," Jimenez said after his release.