A CNN reporter and his crew have been released from custody after being arrested on-air Friday morning while covering the ongoing protests in Minneapolis over the police-involved killing of George Floyd.
Omar Jimenez and his team were taken into custody around 5:10 a.m. local time while standing in the street outside a liquor store that had been set ablaze in the demonstrations. An hour and a half later, the network reported their release.
“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 network said in a statement earlier. “The authorities in Minnesota, including the Governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately.”
The incident began as Jimenez and his crew observed a protester being arrested for breaking through a barrier set up by the Minnesota State Patrol.
The officers then shift their focus over to Jimenez, who is heard telling them “we are speaking with state patrol right now, give us a second guys. We can move back to where you would like.”
“Put us back where you want us, we are getting out of your way, so just let us know,” Jimenez continues.
After no apparent movement – or clear instruction from police — Jimenez continues reporting from the scene with one of the officers clutching his left arm.
“This is a 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 with the fire department on the building that we showed you that was burning,” he says.
Another officer eventually approaches his right side and tells Jimenez “you are under arrest.”
“Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa!” one of the crew members interjects, telling police that he and the crew repeatedly have identified themselves as being with the media.
“Why am I under arrest sir?” Jimenez is heard asking before one of the officers removes the microphone from his hand and places it on the ground.
Police reportedly claimed Jimenez and the crew were taken into custody because they were told to move and didn’t listen.
The footage shows Jimenez being led away from the scene.
“I’ve never seen anything like this, Alisyn,” CNN ‘New Day’ co-anchor John Berman says on-air at 5:13 a.m., four minutes after the ordeal began.
“We are just out here doing our job as well as you are,” one of the crew members tells police before being taken into custody himself.
CNN said Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz “deeply apologizes” for the incident and had been working to have the three employees freed.
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