A CNN reporter and production team were arrested live on air in Minneapolis early Friday morning while covering the protests taking place in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
Journalist Omar Jimenez, who is black, was doing a live shot in front of Minnesota State Patrol officers who were lined up in their full riot gear on what is the fourth day of protests in response to the death of George Floyd. With Jimenez's media badge held up for the camera and officers to see, police placed him and his production, producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez, under arrest without giving a reason. The camera kept rolling throughout the entire ordeal.
“Do you want to tell me why I am under arrest, sir?" Jimenez can be heard saying. "We can move back to where you like. We are live on the air here. ... Put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way— wherever you want us, (we'll) get out of your way.”
Jimenez’s production crew then tried to again tell police they were with CNN before one-by-one, they were placed in handcuffs and led away.
According to CNN, the crew on the scene was out reporting on the closure of some streets when Jimenez was arrested. Jimenez and the crew were standing where officers had asked before their arrests, CNN said. They were standing near Minneapolis police department’s 3rd precinct, which had been set on fire in the night.
The crew was released an hour later. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz told CNN President Jeff Zucker that he “deeply apologizes” for what happened, according to the station.
"In the course of clearing the streets and restoring order at Lake Street and Snelling Avenue, four people were arrested by State Patrol troopers, including three members of a CNN crew. The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media,” Minneapolis State Patrol said in the statement after the arrests.
However, CNN disputed that account, saying in a statement on Twitter, “This is not accurate - our CNN crew identified themselves, on live television, immediately as journalists. We thank Minnesota @GovTimWalz for his swift action this morning to aid in the release of our crew.”
Police have said 170 businesses have been damaged from the riots and protests this week and at least a dozen fires have been set. Protests began after video surfaced of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on 46-year-old Floyd’s neck as he lay handcuffed and telling police he couldn’t breathe. Floyd later died in the hospital. All four officers at the scene of Floyd’s arrest have been fired.
Many have called to see charges brought against the officers in the case.