CNN Reporter Omar Jimenez Arrested in Minneapolis

CNN Reporter Omar Jimenez Arrested in Minneapolis

2020-05-29 12:38:12

A CNN reporting team was briefly arrested early Friday by the police in Minneapolis while covering the protests there, even as the news network’s camera continued to broadcast live.

In the moments before the arrest, Mr. Jimenez could be heard clearly identifying himself as a reporter and offering to move wherever he and his crew were directed. “Put us back where you want us, we are getting out of your way, just let us know” he was recorded telling the police, who wore riot gear labeled “State Patrol.” Mr. Jimenez added, “Wherever you’d want us, we will go.”

Instead, he was placed in custody. As his hands were bound behind his back, a man’s voice can be heard saying, “We told you before that we are with CNN.”

Not long afterward, officers approached the other members of the camera crew. “I believe that we’re all about to be arrested,” a man says. “I’m totally going to be taken in a minute.”

The camera was eventually placed on the ground, still rolling.

A spokesman for the Minnesota State Police could not immediately be reached for comment. On Twitter, the Minnesota State Patrol said: “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.”

In a statement on Twitter, CNN said that a 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.”

By about 6:30 a.m. local time, the crew had been released and were again reporting live on television. Mr. Jimenez said that there “seemed to be a lot of confusion” as to where the news media were supposed or allowed to be. He said that he asked the officers what their guidance was for reporters, and that he was told, “Look, I don’t know man, I’m just following orders.”

Mr. Jimenez added, “Everyone to their credit was pretty cordial.”

One of the hosts of CNN’s “New Day,” John Berman, said on the show that the network’s president, Jeff Zucker, had spoken with Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota, who apologized and called the incident “totally unacceptable and totally inadvertent.”

“They clearly had the right to be there,” the governor said, according to Mr. Berman. “We want the media there to cover this. It is never acceptable for this to happen.”

Christine Hauser contributed reporting.


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