Black CNN reporter arrested live on air while covering Minneapolis protests over George Floyd killing

Chiara Giordano
CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and other members of his television crew were arrested by police live on air while covering the Minneapolis protests over the death of black man George Floyd, 29 May 2020: CNN

A CNN reporter and crew have been arrested live on air while covering the Minneapolis protests over the killing of George Floyd.

Black correspondent Omar Jimenez had just shown a protester being arrested when about half a dozen white police officers surrounded him.

Mr Jiminez told the Minnesota State Patrol officers that his team were willing to move back, before explaining that he and his crew were members of the press, adding: “We’re getting out of your way.”

Nevertheless, the journalist was handcuffed and led away. Mr Jimenez asked why he was being arrested but received no answer. Several minutes later, as their camera was still filming, the other members of his CNN team, who are white, were also arrested.

Apparently not realising that the camera was still broadcasting live, police removed it.

CNN tweeted: “CNN reporter & his production team were arrested this morning in Minneapolis for doing their jobs, despite identifying themselves — a clear violation of their First Amendment rights.

“The authorities in Minnesota, incl. the governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately.”

Mr Jimenez was released shortly afterwards and told viewers he believed his crew had been targeted after a protester had run past and been detained. He said: “After that protester was apprehended the police turned towards us.”

He said that officers had been “pretty cordial” towards him and his crew following the initial confrontation.

CNN presenters noted that another correspondent, Josh Campbell (who is white), was reporting nearby but was not arrested.

The Minnesota State Patrol later tweeted: “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.”

It comes after Thursday marked a third night of arson, looting and vandalism in Minnesota over the death of a black man, George Floyd, seen on video gasping for breath while a white police officer knelt on his neck.