Story at a glance
- George Floyd, a black man who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck in Minneapolis, has ignited anger nationwide and protests in Minneapolis.
- Protesters are calling for the arrest of the police officers involved in the death of Floyd. The four officers have currently been fired, and as of Friday afternoon one has been taken into custody.
- Armed officers arrested CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his team early Friday morning, later releasing them after seeing their press badges.
The sun had hardly risen on Friday morning when a CNN crew was arrested in Minneapolis while attempting to cover the ongoing protests there.
Protests had erupted in the city following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died as a result of an arrest. A haunting video of the incident was captured live by a bystander, showing police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the unarmed man’s neck for several minutes before he lost consciousness and died soon after.
Protesters in Minneapolis and other U.S. cities have been speaking up against racially discriminatory police brutality and are angered by the fact that despite the four police officers involved in Floyd’s death having been fired, as of Friday afternoon only one, Chauvin, had been taken into custody and currently faces charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter.
The demonstrations have involved looting and arson, prompting the intervention of armed cops who have swarmed the city and created blockades on streets. Some of those state police officers detained CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez, his producer and his photojournalist shortly after 5 a.m. CST as Jimenez was reporting live from south of downtown, nearby a police precinct building that was earlier set on fire by protesters.
The arrest was captured live, as viewers could see Jimenez holding his CNN badge while reporting and telling officers that he and his crew would move to wherever officers asked.
"We can move back to where you like. We are live on the air here,” Jimenez could be heard saying. “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 grabbed by the arm and put in handcuffs.
The camera was still rolling at this time as their stunned colleagues back at the studio wondered aloud if the equipment was being held by the crew or by police officers.
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According to white CNN journalist Josh Campbell, who was also on the ground in Minneapolis, he was "treated much differently" by officers than Jimenez. "I'm sitting here talking to the National Guard, talking to the police. They're asking politely to move here and there. A couple times I've moved closer than they would like. They asked politely to move back. They didn't pull out the handcuffs. Lot different here than what Omar experienced."
The arrest of Jimenez, who identifies as black and Latino, has prompted discussion on whether he would have been detained by the police if he were white. Jimenez and his crew were released after about an hour in police custody.
Since the incident Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has apologized, telling reporters: "We have got to ensure that there is a safe spot for journalism to tell the story,” adding, “Not because it’s a nice thing to do. Because it is a key component to how we fix this.”
Walz also said that there was “absolutely no reason” for the journalists’ arrests and took full responsibility.
The arrest of Jimenez quickly became a trending topic of debate on social media channels such as Twitter, where the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, former Vice President Joe Biden, tweeted: “This is not abstract: a black reporter was arrested while doing his job this morning, while the white police officer who killed George Floyd remains free,” Biden wrote. “I am glad swift action was taken, but this, to me, says everything.”
Laura Coates, CNN's legal analyst, has also said the arrest of Jimenez is "why people don't have faith in what might happen in Hennepin County,” referring to the lack of criminal charges brought upon the officers involved in the death of Floyd.
"Four officers who were involved in the killing of an unarmed black man whose body was on the street and handcuffed behind his back, they have not been arrested since Monday or charged with any crime. Omar Jimenez shows a credential, a camera is running, his crew and producers are saying who they are and they were arrested sooner. Optically, this is why people don't have faith in what might happen in county."
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