Walz personally apologizes to CNN reporter who was arrested during protests
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) personally apologized Wednesday to CNN reporter Omar Jimenez after he and his crew were arrested last week covering demonstrations protesting police brutality and the death of George Floyd.
“Thank you for the professionalism, thank you for understanding, and I’m deeply sorry,” Walz said, directly addressing Jimenez during an interview at the site of Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, according to CNN.
“And you can know that we’ve made other mistakes on this as far as making sure that you have access. But protocols and everything else, as we’re learning, have to change because we have to create the space for you to tell the story,” Walz added.
Protests have erupted all over the country after video surfaced of Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man, who was killed in Minneapolis police custody.
Footage showed a white officer, Derek Chauvin, with his knee on Floyd’s neck. Floyd pleaded for air several times telling the officers at the scene that he couldn’t breathe. However, Chauvin did not remove his knee, and after several minutes, Floyd was unresponsive.
Chauvin has been fired from the police department, and last week he was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Walz’s apology comes after Jimenez and his camera crew were arrested Friday morning in Minneapolis while reporting live, despite telling police that they were part of the press. The CNN crew was released nearly one hour after their arrest and began reporting once again.
Journalists from multiple outlets have experienced force from local police while covering protests across the nation. In New York City, reporters from The Associate Press said that they were shoved by police and told to leave the premises of the demonstration.
Other journalists have reported experiencing violence, tear gas, rubber bullets and other forms of crowd control despite their identification as members of the press.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a statement Wednesday it would file a class-action lawsuit against Minnesota state and local law enforcement to ensure that “police officers who target journalists are held fully accountable for their unlawful actions.”
Walz apologized for the incident and arrest on Friday, but Wednesday was the first time the governor issued an apology directly to Jimenez.
“I’m, again, deeply sorry that that happened. I appreciate you being back out here again covering [this],” he told Jimenez.
The governor also visited the site of Floyd’s death for the first time Wednesday. Walz said he wanted to visit so he could “personally and viscerally feel” the community’s pain.
“I don’t think we get another chance to fix this in the country. I really don’t. I don’t think that’s hyperbole. Being at the heart of this and seeing the community’s pain so viscerally, this is going to have to be that change we look for,” he said.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.