Police in Minnesota arrested CNN journalist Omar Jimenez and his field crew as they covered unrest in Minneapolis in the early hours of Friday morning. Jimenez, a producer and a camera operator were placed in handcuffs though they clearly identified themselves to officers.
The moment of the arrest was aired on CNN’s morning show, “New Day,” Friday. The camera crew was in Minnesota to capture protests over the death of a local black man named George Floyd at the hands of a white cop and the lack of charges brought against the police officer.
As CNN noted in its own write-up of the situation, the camera — which was also taken by police — continued to roll as they were all handcuffed. The police seemed unaware.
In the clip, Jimenez repeatedly asks the officers where they want him and his crew to stand.
“Put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way. Let us know. Wherever you want us, let us know. We were getting out of your way as you were advancing through the intersection. Let us know and we got you,” he told them before continuing to address viewers of the live feed.
“This is the scene here playing out in Minneapolis. This is part of the advanced police presence that we saw come over the course of really minutes when the local police showed up at the fire department — or with the fire department, I should say — at that building that was burning,” he said as the cameras captured flames and smoke around him.
An officer approached him as he was broadcasting and said, “You’re under arrest.”
“Do you mind telling me why I’m under arrest, sir?” he asked as they placed him in cuffs.
“If you’re just tuning in, you are watching our correspondent Omar Jimenez being arrested…” cut in “New Day” anchor Alisyn Camerota, sounding shocked.
The Minnesota State Patrol released a statement later Friday morning via Twitter, writing, “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.”
CNN’s competitor, MSNBC, also released a statement online: “We condemn the arrest and detention of a crew of @CNN journalists who were simply doing their jobs in a tough situation on the ground in Minneapolis. This is a time when the work of journalists continues to be necessary to inform and educate the public. Any infringement on press freedom flies in the face of all of our freedoms and should not be condoned. We support and stand with our colleagues.”
Fox News added, “FOX News Channel has always supported the First Amendment and this instance is no different. We denounce the detainment of the CNN crew and stand with them in protecting the right to report without fear or favor.”
The press account for CBS News tweeted, “CBSNews stands in support of all journalists – now more than ever our work is vital to the country. No journalist should be detained just for doing their job.”
After the crew’s release an hour later, Jimenez went back on air, saying, “There seemed to be a little bit of confusion as to what was allowed to happen…I think the moment before the arrest actually happened is we saw at least one protestor — or someone who was not media — run past us and that person was cornered by state patrol…after that person was apprehended, they then turned on us.”
Watch the clip of Jimenez’s arrest above.