Yesterday, an Afro-Latino CNN reporter was arrested while reporting on the Minneapolis protests. Journalist Omar Jimenez was conducting a live-feed on the situation in Minneapolis when State Patrol in riot gear arrested him, and his two crew members. The wrongful arrest was captured on live TV. Hours after his arrest, Jimenez was back on the job, reporting live with the same clothes.
And we’re back pic.twitter.com/dkYHYxe0u7
— Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenez) May 29, 2020
The Minnesota State Patrol addressed the arrests and tweeted that those arrested were released when they learned that they were members of the press. However, the live segment shows Jimenez telling patrolmen that he is a reporter with CNN and would move anywhere they wanted him to. The patrolmen never told him where he should move to, and they just arrested him. As Jimenez was taken away, CNN quickly said that their legal team was on the case.
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
“A 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.”
Not only did the Minnesota State Patrol infringe on free speech, but the arrest was also a clear form of racism. Another CNN reporter, Josh Campbell, was also reporting live from the protest just a block away, and yet he — a white journalist — was not harassed or arrested by officials.
— CNN (@CNN) May 29, 2020
This morning, Jimenez addressed his arrest on CNN and said there seemed to be some confusion about what was allowed to happen. He said he was in verbal contact with the State Patrol about where the media were allowed to stand, mainly because they were telling protesters to clear the area. Jimenez said that protesters did clear the area. Jimenez added that he, and his production team, stepped onto a corner, and that is when a person (not press) ran passed him. State Patrol detained that person, and then they turned to him.
“That is the first moment that I can say that police got behind us,” Jimenez said.
While State Patrol took Jimenez away, the cameras kept rolling for his entire trip to the state. Jimenez said that after his arrest, everyone in the precinct was cordial. Jimenez said that he asked the arresting officer, while he was detained, where he should be standing because his CNN team would be back reporting on the situation, and the officer responded by saying, “I don’t know, I’m just following orders.” Jiminez said he didn’t know who was in charge of giving the arrest orders.
CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota asked Jimenez if he was scared during his shocking arrest. Jimenez said he was initially trying to process what was happening, while trying to relay the news back to CNN, and was confused as to why this was happening because they knew he was a member of the press.
“It did cross my mind, what is happening here,” Jimenez said. “And the one thing that was giving me a little bit of comfort is that it happened live on TV.”
Jimenez said that just like the death of George Floyd was captured on video, there is the power to video documentation because “people will stand up for you without you having to say a thing.”
“You don’t have to doubt my story. It’s not filtered in any way, you saw it with your own eyes, and that gave me a little comfort.”
His CNN colleagues lauded him for his journalistic integrity, grace, and composure throughout the entire ordeal.
— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) May 29, 2020