A CNN crew was arrested by police Friday in Minneapolis, where rioting has filled the streets for three nights in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Footage of the incident posted on YouTube shows police advancing toward a CNN crew, which contained correspondent Omar Jimenez, producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez. The incident took place near the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct police station, which had been set afire by protesters Thursday night.
The video clip begins with members of the Minneapolis State Patrol running to a spot behind the CNN crew to detain an individual, putting the crew between a line of police and the person being taken to the ground.
Amid calls from a loudspeaker for individuals to disperse, a group of officers reached the CNN crew.
Although Jimenez can be heard telling the police that the crew will move out of the officers’ way, the video also shows that the crew did not immediately move away from its place.
“We can move back to where you’d like,” Jimenez said. “We are live on the air at the moment.”
“Put us back where you want us. We were getting out of your way, so just let us know. Wherever you’d want us, we will go,” he added. “We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection.”
Jimenez continued to report from the scene until he was handcuffed and placed under arrest.
“That is an American television reporter Omar Jimenez being led away by police officers,” CNN anchor John Berman said back in CNN’s studio.
“He clearly identified himself as a reporter, he was respectfully explaining to the state 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.”
The CNN crew was taken to the city’s public safety building, but they were released roughly an hour after they were arrested.
“Everyone was pretty cordial after that happened,” Jimenez said on the air later, according to Deadline, claiming the officer who arrested him said he was “just following orders.”
“They weren’t violent with me, we were having conversation about how crazy this week has been for every single part of the city. A lot of these people are on edge,” he said.
“The one thing that gave me a little bit of comfort was that it happened on live TV. When you talk within the community about, let’s say what happened with George Floyd, there’s discussion that, what’s happening isn’t new, it’s being filmed. That speaks to the power of having something that happens on camera. You can have people speak up for you without you saying anything.”
Berman later quoted Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz as telling CNN president Jeff Zucker: “It was totally unacceptable and inadvertent what happened. … They clearly had the right to be there, we want the media to cover this, it is never acceptable for this to happen.”
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
Minneapolis State Patrol issued a statement on Twitter about the arrests.
“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,” the tweet read.
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.
— MN State Patrol (@MnDPS_MSP) May 29, 2020
CNN then claimed that the police were wrong.
“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,” the network’s communications division tweeted.
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
As CNN tried to spin the incident as police misconduct, some pushed back:
Not accurate CNN, your own footage shows they were asked to move. You know how this works. Yes Omar was respectful. But in a riot situation when Police say move, you know very well, MOVE!
Film from the side, not in front of their shields. They’re there to restore order, you air.
— Snow White ⏳ (@SnowWhite7IAM) May 29, 2020
CNN is racist. They are making this arrest thing about racism when they were told to move from THE CENTER STAGING AREA as we watched it ALL!
But CNN correspondents say it’s bc Omar is black and Josh is white -but Josh was not in the MIDDLE OF THE INTERSECTION w a CNN CREW! #CNN
— Informed Consent to Vaccinate (@Pied_Peter) May 29, 2020
Campbell was in the same area as Jimenez, but was not with the camera crew.
“I identified myself … they said, ‘OK, you’re permitted to be in the area,'” Campbell said. “I was treated much differently than [Jimenez] was.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.