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CNN crew released from police custody in Minneapolis

Christian Fernsby ▼ | May 29, 2020
A CNN crew was arrested while giving a live television report Friday morning in Minneapolis and then released about an hour later as the crew covered ongoing protests over the death in police custody of George Floyd.
CNN crew
Minneapolis   CNN crew
State police detained CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez, his producer and his photojournalist shortly after 5 a.m. CT (6 a.m. ET) as Jimenez was reporting live from a street south of downtown, near where a police precinct building was earlier set ablaze.

Topics: Minneapolis

Jimenez could be seen holding his CNN badge while reporting, identifying himself as a reporter, and telling the officers the crew would move wherever officers needed

hem to. An officer gripped his arm as Jimenez talked, then put him in handcuffs. "We can move back to where you like. We are live on the air here. ... Put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way wherever you want us (we'll) get out of your way," Jimenez said to police before he was led away.

"We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection," Jimenez continued.

Police told the crew they were being detained because they were told to move and didn't, one member of the CNN crew relayed to the network.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz told CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker that he deeply apologizes for what happened and would work to have the crew released.

Later, after the crew was freed, Walz told reporters: "We have got to ensure that there is a safe spot for journalism to tell the story."

The troopers were clearing the area at Walz's direction, he said, adding there was "absolutely no reason" for the journalists' arrests and that he takes full responsibility.

Jimenez and the others producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez had been taken to the city's downtown public safety building after their arrest, but were released after 6 a.m. CT.

Jimenez, after his release, reported live outside from downtown and said he'd been treated cordially after he'd been led away.

"We're doing OK, now. There were a few uneasy moments there," Jimenez said.

The Minneapolis State Patrol said this about the incident:

"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 disputed the state police characterization in a statement on Twitter.

"This is not accurate our CNN crew identified themselves, on live television, immediately as journalists. We thank Minnesota @GovTimWalz for his swift action this morning to aid in the release of our crew."

CNN's Josh Campbell, who also was in the area but not standing with the on-air crew, said he, too, was approached by police, but was allowed to remain.

"I identified myself ... they said, 'OK, you're permitted to be in the area,'" recounted Campbell, who is white. "I was treated much differently than (Jimenez) was."

Jimenez is black and Latino. Kirkos is white, and Mendez is Hispanic.

Fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday afternoon. Agents with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension arrested Chauvin, authorities said.


 

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