Minneapolis erupts in outrage over George Floyd murder. CNN Crew Arrested. See story from Dow Jones.
10:50 am ET May 29, 2020 (Dow Jones) Print
By Benjamin Mullin
A CNN television crew was arrested and detained briefly by Minnesota state patrol officers early Friday morning while covering a protest in Minneapolis sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck in an incident captured on video.
CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez was released later Friday morning, along with a producer and camera operator who were detained with him. Their release came after a phone conversation between Jeff Zucker, chairman of news and sports operations for CNN-parent WarnerMedia, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, according to a CNN spokeswoman.
In a statement posted to Twitter, the Minnesota State Patrol said three members of the CNN crew were arrested, then released after “they were confirmed to be members of the media.”
CNN disputed the Minneapolis State Patrol’s version of events, saying on Twitter that the crew “identified themselves, on live television, immediately as journalists.” CNN also thanked Mr. Walz for helping speed the release of the crew.
A spokesman for the Minnesota State Patrol didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said on Twitter: “This is not abstract: a black reporter was arrested while doing his job this morning, while the white police officer who killed George Floyd remains free. I am glad swift action was taken, but this, to me, says everything.”
The arrest and subsequent release were extraordinary moments of live TV that quickly spread on social media. Mr. Jimenez was reporting near a burning building when he and his camera crew began shooting video of state patrol officers, according to CNN video.
Before Mr. Jimenez was placed under arrest, he told police officers that he was live on the air, according to the video, and added that the crew was willing to move out of the street. Less than a minute later, police began arresting Mr. Jimenez and his crew. As Mr. Jimenez was being detained, a member of the crew identified them as CNN employees, according to the video.
Less than two hours later, Mr. Jimenez was back on the air explaining what happened. Mr. Jimenez said that the police were “cordial” after the arrest, adding that one of the officers told him he was “just following orders.”
“There was no animosity there,” Mr. Jimenez said on the air. “They weren’t violent with me. We were having conversations about how crazy this week has been for every part of the city.”
Mr. Floyd’s death has sparked protests in Minneapolis and several other cities. Four police officers were fired for their role in the incident, which occurred Monday. The FBI is investigating the matter.