CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez was arrested by Minnesota state police along with a television crew with the network while covering the ongoing social unrest in Minneapolis sparked by the police killing of George Floyd.
Jimenez, who identifies as Black and Hispanci, was giving a live report early Friday (May 29) when officers cuffed the crew and took them into custody. Police told them they were being arrested because they failed to move when ordered to, a member of the crew told CNN. A total of three people were arrested, network representatives said on social media. They were apparently released about an hour later and were shown walking out of a police precinct on live television.
Notably, Jimenez’ colleague at CNN, Josh Campbell, who is white and also covering Minneapolis was not arrested.
Jimenez explained what happened moments after he was let out. “The moment before the arrest happened we saw at least one person run past us,” he said. “After that person was apprehended they turned toward us.” He said that he spoke to one officer about where the media should be placed, to which the officer replied: “Look, I don’t know, man. I’m just following orders.”
Officers had moved in toward the crew as they went to arrest a protester behind them. Jimenez had identified himself as a journalist working for CNN, but as he explained he was put into handcuffs.
"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 told the police. "We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection.” He was put into cuffs as he was reporting live.
CNN blasted MInnesota authorities for the arrest, calling on them to release the team of journalists at once. The network said Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz had been working to get them released.
In a statement, the National Association of Black Journalists condemed the arrests of Jimenez and his colleagues, saying they were "simply doing their jobs and covering protests in Minneapolis this morning. They were handcuffed and led away by state police during a live shot even after Jimenez identified himself as a CNN reporter."
“It was unnecessary, and a violation of the first amendment,” said NABJ President Dorothy Tucker.
Demonstrations remained chaotic for a third night in Minneapolis with frustrated protesters going as far as burning a police precinct Thursday night (May 28). Many of the protests over the past three days have been peaceful, with thousands amassing in the city’s downtown area to protest.
George Floyd died May 25, when police officer Derek Chauvin attempted to arrest him by placing his knee on the 46-year-old’s neck causing him to lose consciousness and die.
The officers, including Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng were all fired. Both local authorities and the FBI are investigating the incident, but charges against them have not yet been brought by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated.
Photo Credit: Jordan Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images