UPDATE 9:20 A.M. PT: Governor Walz held a press conference and apologized to CNN’s president Jeff Zucker and his team who were arrested for no reason:
“I take full responsibility. There is absolutely no reason something like this should happen. Calls were made immediately.
This is a very public apology to that team: It should not happen. I am a teacher by trade, and I have spent my time as governor highlighting the need to be as transparent as possible and have the press here. I failed you last night in that. We have to got to ensure that there is a safe spot for journalism to tell the story.
I appreciate President Zucker’s call, I appreciate his understanding of the situation that he was rightfully incredibly angry. And that falls squarely on me.”
This is absolutely outrageous.
While reporting live on the scene of the continued protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota sparked by outrage over George Floyd‘s death, CNN reporter Omar Jimenez, who is Black and Latino, was arrested early Friday morning. His white colleague, also reporting in the area, was not arrested.
Around 5 a.m. local time, Jimenez, who was on the location of one arrest, had informed his in-studio colleagues of police approaching:
“We are speaking with state patrol now. Give us a second, guys.”
Omar — who was wearing his CNN badge to identify himself as a member of the press —then addressed the cops directly:
“We can move back to where you 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 are getting out of your way. Just let us know. We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection.”
As he continued reporting, one police officer placed his hand on Jimenez’s arm, while another said to him:
“You are under arrest.”
But before being handcuffed and led away, the journalist rightfully questioned the move:
“Do you mind telling me why I am under arrest?”
Watch the situation unfold as he and his small team of four were taken into police custody (below):
— CNN (@CNN) May 29, 2020
The two members of the crew who were arrested with Omar — producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez — were also taken to the city’s downtown public safety building before later being released.
As we mentioned up top, a white reporter from the network, Josh Campbell, was also in the area but was not standing with his on-air crew. He, too, was approached by law enforcement, but was allowed to remain on-site, recounting:
“I identified myself … they said, ‘OK, you’re permitted to be in the area.’ I was treated much differently than [Jimenez] was.”
The Minneapolis State Police tweeted 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.”
However, this was quickly disputed by the network. CNN shared to Twitter about Governor Tim Walz‘ own involvement to get the crew released:
“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.”
An hour after the arrest, Jimenez returned to the air and let viewers know he was treated fine after being led away:
“We’re doing OK, now. There were a few uneasy moments there.”
Watch Omar recount more about his time in custody (below):
— CNN (@CNN) May 29, 2020
The Minnesota Governor will be holding a press conference on Friday morning, telling CNN President Jeff Zucker an apology will be coming:
“I will publicly address what happened this morning and apologize to the crew. You are essential to our democracy and your ability to report must be unhindered.”
We’d also like to hear if there will be any consequences for the officers involved in wrongfully arresting the media crew…
Thoughts, Perezcious readers??
[Image via CNN/Twitter.]