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CNN crew released following arrest during live coverage of protests in Minneapolis

7 months 3 weeks 6 days ago Friday, May 29 2020 May 29, 2020 May 29, 2020 6:03 AM May 29, 2020 in News
Source: CNN
Minnesota Police arrested CNN journalist Omar Jimenez and his crew during a live broadcast at the site of the protests in Minneapolis, after clearly identifying himself to officers. Photo: CNN

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota- CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his news team have been released after being arrested during live coverage of the protests in Minneapolis, the news network reported. 

Jimenez and his crew were handcuffed and detained as Jimenez gave a live report on a Minneapolis street shortly after 5 a.m.

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.

Laura Coates, CNN's legal analyst, said the arrest illustrates "why people don't have faith in what might happen in Hennepin County."

Jimenez, who identifies as both black and Latino, was arrested early on Friday, and Coates pointed out that Josh Campbell, another CNN journalist on the ground in Minneapolis, who happens to be white, was treated very differently.

Coates added, "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 this country."

On its website, CNN issued a statement regarding Friday morning's arrests, stating: "When a journalist is arrested at a protest, the free and fair gathering of the news is arrested, too.

That's one of the reasons why these infringements on press freedom are relatively rare in the United States — and why Friday's brief arrest of a CNN crew in Minneapolis was so egregious.

"Police may not prevent journalists from covering protests if the journalists are in a place where the public is allowed, and they are not disrupting or interfering with law enforcement. Simply being near a protest or other newsworthy event is not a crime," the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press states in its guide to covering protests.

Live video from correspondent Omar Jimenez and the CNN crew showed that they were not interfering with law enforcement."

After the arrests were made, CNN quickly issued a response to the situation saying the arrest was in clear violation of first amendment rights and demanding the release of the detained news employees. 

Minnesota State Senator Jeff Hayden called CNN shortly after the incident and said he'd just been conferring with both the state governor and local mayor via text regarding how to get control of the area and that they hadn't been aware of the CNN reporter's arrest.

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