State police in Minnesota have arrested a CNN reporter, producer, and camera crew while they were live on air, covering the protests in Minneapolis that followed the death of George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old black man who died in city police custody.
In a video shared to Twitter on Friday morning, correspondent Omar Jiminez can be seen speaking to police in the middle of a deserted street, showing them his identification while he explains that they’re currently live.
“We can move back to where you’d like, we are live on the air at the moment,” Jiminez says. “This is the four of us, we are one team. Put us back where you want us, we are getting out of your way, so just let us know. Wherever you want us we will go, we were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection.”
Jiminez then turns back to the camera, providing context to what is happening.
“This is a scene here playing out in Minneapolis,” he says. “This is part of the advanced police presence we saw come over the course of really minutes, when the local police showed up with the fire department on that building we showed you that was burning.
“This is among the state patrol unit that was advancing up the street, saying — and scattering protesters at that point — for people to clear the area.”
At that point Jiminez is told he’s under arrest and handcuffed.
“If you’re just tuning in,” says CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota back in the studio, “you are watching our correspondent Omar Jiminez being arrested by state police in Minnesota.”
Camerota goes on to explain that the crew were standing where they were previously told to stand by police while covering the road closures. Members of the production crew are then also arrested, and the photographer’s camera is put on the ground where it continues to broadcast live.
“They were out of the way,” she says. “We don’t know why they’re being arrested. They’re not being given any explanation as far as we can hear for why they’re being arrested. We don’t know why they’re being handcuffed and led away. They are allowed to be reporting on the unrest that’s happening right now, but for some reason the state police have decided that they need to be under arrest.”
CNN issued a statement after the arrest, demanding the release of the crew. “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.”
This story is developing…