CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his camera crew were arrested during a live broadcast from the Minneapolis protests on Friday.
Fierce protests have been happening in Minneapolis since an unarmed black man, George Floyd, died on Monday after a police officer knelt on his neck till he became unconscious.
Since then #blacklivesmatter and #justiceforGeorgefloyd have been trending as protesters broke into a police precinct in the city and set it on fire, while looting shops, as US president Trump threatened to use the military if the city Mayor can’t control the violence.
State police detained CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez, his producer and his photojournalist shortly after 5 a.m. CT (6 a.m. ET) as Jimenez was reporting live from a street south of downtown, near where a police precinct was earlier set ablaze.
In the footage, Jimenez, sporting a virus protective mask, is being quizzed by his anchors Alisyn Camerota and John Berman in front of a group of riot police as they move to arrest a nearby person. State patrol then approached the presenter and his crew, and Jimenez can be heard telling the officers that his crew can move “where they would like,” to get out of their way in a cooperative and non-confrontational manner.
The officers after hearing Jimenez’s comments, surrounded the crew as Jimenez continues to report live on air, before he is told that he is under arrest and placed in handcuffs.
Jimenez on realizing he was being arrested live on air, looked at the camera, let himself be handcuffed as he is walked away. After a moment, the crew are also placed into handcuffs.
“That is an American television reporter being led away by police officers. He clearly identified himself as a reporter and was respectfully explaining to the police that the CNN team was there and moving away as they would request, and then for some reason he was taken into police custody live on television,” added the anchor off screen.
“I have never seen anything like this,” the anchor adds on several occasions.
Police told the crew they were being detained because they were told to move and didn’t, one member of the CNN crew relayed to the network.
Jimenez and his crew, producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez, were taken to the city’s downtown public safety building, but were released after 6 a.m. CT.
Jimenez, after his release, reported live outside from downtown and said he’d been treated cordially after he’d been led away.
“We’re doing OK, now. There were a few uneasy moments there,” Jimenez said.
The Minneapolis State Patrol said this about the incident:
“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.”
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz told CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker that he deeply apologizes for what happened and would work to have the crew released.
CNN also reacted to the arrest of its crew, disputing the state police characterization in a statement on Twitter.
“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.”