MINNEAPOLIS – An entire CNN TV crew - including a reporter who was covering the unrest in Minneapolis after the killing of George Floyd - was arrested by Minnesota police live on the air early Friday morning.
CNN journalist Omar Jimenez was taken into police custody during a live broadcast at the site of the protests in Minneapolis, after clearly identifying himself to officers.
Jimenez's crew, including a producer and a camera operator, were also placed in handcuffs.
The CNN camera was also taken into custody and continued to record as the crew was handcuffed, with police seemingly unaware that the camera was still on.
Police said the crew was arrested for failing to move to a different area, but the crew is heard, while the camera is rolling, asking police where they should be standing and offering to move to “wherever you want us.”
Jimenez told the officers he and his three colleagues were part of the same CNN crew and calmly identified himself with his CNN identification card.
Jimenez was then heard as telling the officers:
“We can move back to where you’d like. We can move back to where you’d like here. We are live on the air at the moment. This is the four of us. We are one team. Just put us back where you want us. We’re getting out of your way. So, just let us know. Wherever you’d want us, we will go. We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection. Let us know and we’ve got you.”
Protests first erupted Tuesday, a day after Floyd’s death in a confrontation with police captured on widely seen citizen video. On the video, Floyd can be seen pleading as Officer Derek Chauvin presses his knee against him. As minutes pass, Floyd slowly stops talking and moving. The 3rd Precinct covers the portion of south Minneapolis where Floyd was arrested.
CNN released a statement following the arrests: A CNN reporter & 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, incl. the Governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately.
Live now on CNN as reported by @JohnBerman: CNN president Jeff Zucker spoke to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz who apologized for State Police’s arrest of @OmarJimenez and our team. He is working to get them released. Walz said he takes full responsibility for what happened.— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) May 29, 2020
UPDATE: The CNN crew was released by police around 7:30 a.m.: