CNN Anchor Arrested Live on Air While Reporting on George Floyd Protest
On Friday morning, CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his news crew were detained by Minnesota state police during a live television report on the George Floyd protests taking place in Minneapolis.
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At the time of the arrest, Jimenez was reporting near a police precinct building that had been set on fire earlier.
During the CNN report, Jimenez was seen holding out his CNN badge to identify himself as a reporter. He told the police before being handcuffed, “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.”
He added, “We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection.”
The police told the camera crew that they were being detained for not moving after being told to do so.
After news broke of the shocking arrest, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz apologized for what went down, telling CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker that he would work to get the crew released. He told reporters, “We have got to ensure that there is a safe spot for journalism to tell the story."
After the arrest, Jimenez and his team were taken to the city's downtown public safety building.
Upon his release, Jimenez explained what happened, saying, “For us, it was a situation of, 'Tell me who you are.' They came back and said, 'You are with CNN, correct?' They left, came back, they let us out of a van — we were handcuffed at the time — then they came back with our belongings and we were let out.”
“There was a moment where this started to sink in. We had been showing our credentials this entire week,” Jimenez, who is black and Latino, added. “As we were walking away, it did cross my mind what is really happening here, and the one thing that gave me a little comfort is that it happened on live TV. What is happening is not new — it is being filmed. That speaks to the power of it happening on camera. You don't have to doubt my story, you could see it with your own eyes, and that gave me a little bit of comfort.”
Jimenez's CNN colleague Josh Campbell was also reporting in the area, but was not detained.
Campbell, who is white, said, “I identified myself... They said, 'Okay, you're permitted to be in the area.' I was treated much differently than [Jimenez] was."
In response to the arrest, Minneapolis State Patrol tweeted, “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.”
CNN disputed the statement, tweeting, “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."
The arrests happened on the third night that crowds protested the death of George Floyd, who died on Monday shortly after being arrested for a non-violent act in Minneapolis.
Video of the arrest shows white police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck as Floyd says he can't breathe and pleads for help.
All four responding officers have since been fired, and Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced on Friday that Chauvin had been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
In a statement, Harrington said, "That's less than four days. That's extraordinary. We have never charged a case in that time frame.”
Beyoncé reacted to Floyd's death by posting one of his yearbook photos on her webpage with the message "rest in power," and Halle Berry tweeted, “I'm so extremely angry. This bulls**t has to stop!"
John Boyega sounded-off on Twitter and Instagram. One message reads, "This just burns. Seems to be a never ending cycle. The murderers need to be charged severely. Even in the face of death this man was given zero empathy. #RIPGeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd."
Naomi Campbell told "Extra's" Terri Seymour, “This virus has brought out even more racism in these people who abuse their authority on innocent people. We will be speaking and we will be taking action, in a peaceful way. Nobody is going to label us. I am black and I am proud. This is not going away like they wish it would — the whole world is looking at this."