- CNN accused Minnesota state police of misrepresenting the circumstances surrounding the arrest of a black CNN correspondent and two TV crew members on Friday morning.
- The correspondent, Omar Jimenez, was on live TV as he identified himself and his crew as members of the media, but Minnesota State Patrol officers handcuffed him and took the group into custody.
- Minnesota State Patrol later said it released Jimenez and the crew members “once they were confirmed to be members of the media.”
- CNN challenged the statement, saying that Gov. Tim Walz intervened to help release the crew members and that the police violated their First Amendment rights.
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CNN accused Minnesota state police of misrepresenting the circumstances surrounding the arrest of a black CNN correspondent and two TV crew members early Friday as they covered the protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd.
The correspondent, Omar Jimenez, was arrested on live TV as he broadcast from downtown Minneapolis. Jimenez and his crew repeatedly identified themselves as journalists and displayed badges confirming their identities. As the camera rolled, Jimenez was handcuffed and led away by Minnesota State Patrol officers at 5:11 a.m. local time.
“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,” Minnesota State Patrol said on Twitter. “The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.”
— CNN (@CNN) May 29, 2020
CNN challenged that account, insisting that the crew members identified themselves as journalists before the arrests and saying Gov. Tim Walz intervened to help ensure their release.
Josh Campbell, a white CNN correspondent who was also covering the protests, was not arrested and described being treated respectfully by the police. Campbell and the “New Day” anchor John Berman suggested that race likely played a role in Jimenez’s arrest.
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. https://t.co/3cvtsqbbWz
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) May 29, 2020
CNN called the arrests “a clear violation of their First Amendment rights.”
Jimenez was filmed as he and his crew moved out of the way so that a group of officers could make their way down the street. In the minutes before the arrest, Jimenez could be heard asking the police officers where they wanted him and his camera crew to stand and offering to move back.
“Put us back where you want us. We were getting out of your way,” Jimenez said, adding that they were “live on the air at the moment.”
Jimenez then began to describe what he was seeing but stopped as two officers cuffed him and told him he was under arrest.
A CNN producer and a camera operator were also placed in handcuffs and led away. The camera was placed on the ground, and CNN continued to broadcast the footage. You can watch it here.
Jimenez later reported that he asked the officer who led him away where CNN’s crew was allowed to stand on the street. Jimenez said the officer responded, “I don’t know, man, I’m just following orders.”
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 29, 2020
Bill Bostock contributed to this report.
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