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CNN journalists arrested live on air while covering Minneapolis protests

CNN journalists arrested live on air while covering Minneapolis protests
Posted at 7:24 AM, May 29, 2020

Members of a CNN television crew were arrested live on air early Friday morning and briefly detained while they covered protests in Minneapolis.

Journalist Omar Jimenez and his crew, including a producer and camera operator, were placed in handcuffs by state police.

As Jimenez was describing the scene in Minneapolis, state police told him and his crew that they needed to move. While still on air, Jimenez spoke with the officers and told them that he would move wherever they needed him to. Moments later, as Jimenez described the scene, officers told him that he was being placed under arrest.

Jimenez and his crew asked several times why they were being arrested, but officers did not answer.

"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 news outlet said in a statement on Friday morning. "The authorities in Minnesota, incl. the Governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately."

Shortly after, CNN confirmed that the journalists had been released from police custody.

In a tweeted statement, the Minneapolis State Patrol confirmed that it had arrested three journalists who were covering the demonstrations, and released them "once they were confirmed to be members of the media."

Jimenez discussed the arrest on CNN shortly after his release.

Protests have erupted around the country over the death of George Floyd, a black Minnesota man who died in police custody on Monday. Thursday marked the third straight day of protests in Minneapolis.

Derek Chauvin, a now fired Minneapolis police officer, held a knee against Floyd's neck for several minutes, despite pleas from Floyd and bystanders. Floyd was pronounced dead shortly after at a hospital, though EMTs have said he showed no signs of life at the scene.

The protests have grown tenser each day. On Wednesday, demonstrations turned into looting, and several fires have been set in the area throughout the week.

Later on Friday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz apologized for the incident.

“I take full responsibility. There’s no reason that should ever happen,” Walz said during a press conference. “The protection and security and safety of the journalists covering this is a top priority...because it is a key component of how we fix this.”

Protests have taken place in cities around the U.S. On Wednesday, protesters shut down a highway in Los Angeles, and on Thursday, shootings were reported at demonstrations in Denver and Louisville.

Demonstrators have called on Chauvin and other officers involved in Floyd's arrest to face charges in Floyd's death.

On Thursday, the Minnesota National Guard was activated to respond to the demonstrations.