Shortly after 5 a.m. Minneapolis time, State Patrol arrested Omar Jimenez, a CNN correspondent who was reporting live from the ongoing protests calling for justice for George Floyd—an unarmed black man who died at the hands of police on Monday. The entire occurrence aired on the network.
Despite calmly telling the officers that he and his crew would move wherever instructed and that they were live on the air, Jimenez was pulled aside by two officers, handcuffed and taken away from the scene.
“We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection. So just let us know and we got you,” Jimenez said, moments before his arrest. CNN reports that Jimenez had already shown them his identification card.
“We told you before that we are with CNN” is heard off-camera. Two more members of Jimenez’s crew were arrested soon after. The camera operator left the equipment rolling. No explanation is given at any point as to why Jimenez and his team were arrested.
CNN called for the release of the team shortly before 7 a.m.
Another CNN correspondent who is white, Josh Campbell, was reporting from another area and says the police treated him quite differently. It was respectful, and at no point was he arrested or even threatened with arrest.
— CNN (@CNN) May 29, 2020
Jimenez and the crew were released by 8 a.m. on Friday morning, “once they were confirmed to be members of the media,” according to Minneapolis police on Twitter.
Filmmaker and director Ava DuVernay promptly responded to the tweet, citing the video that “we all saw.”
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz apologized to CNN president Jeff Zucker, the network reports, calling “the arrests ‘unacceptable.’”
Protests against police brutality are also ongoing in nearby St. Paul, and in Louisville, Kentucky, where Breonna Taylor was killed by police in March. Seven people have reportedly been shot in the latter.
On Friday morning, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced he expects charges to be filed against the four officers, now fired, involved in Floyd’s death. Floyd’s family is seeking murder charges.
Meanwhile, President Trump encouraged the use of force by police in attempts to tamper protests: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he wrote. The tweet from the official White House account has since been removed.