CNN reporter, Omar Jimenez who was arrested on live TV while covering the protests that were prompted by the death of George Floyd, has been released.
Newsonspot blog reported earlier that Jimenez and his crew were arrested on air by Minnesota State Patrol even after identifying themselves and showing their press credentials.
Speaking after being released, Jimenez said the officers were “cordial” after the on-camera encounter and also told him that they were following orders but didn’t disclose who was issuing the orders.
When he asked about guidelines that his broadcast team should follow in the upcoming days of reporting, he said the officer told him “Look, I don’t know man, I’m just following orders.”
“As far as the people that were leading me away, there was no animosity there, they weren’t violent with me. We were having a conversation about just how crazy this week has been for every single part of the city.”
He also said that one thing that gave him a bit of comfort is that it was captured on live television.
The CNN reporter further said;
“Because you can have people speak up for you without you saying anything, so that gave me a bit of comfort knowing you guys saw that was happening. You don’t have to doubt my story… but it definitely was nerve racking at certain points.”
The arrest has incited a backlash on social media, especially towards a tweet in which Minnesota State Patrol announced the arrest.
The tweet read;
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
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay criticized the statement on Twitter, She tweeted in response;
“That’s not what happened. This is a lie. We all saw it. This spin is erroneous and disingenuous. You do your organization a disservice by even trying this nonsense. Stop tweeting and learn how to do your jobs properly. Start with reading the constitution.”
CNN Communications team tweeted an earlier statement about the incident, calling it “a clear violation of their First Amendment rights. The authorities in Minnesota, incl. the Governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately.”
The news agency later reported that that network’s president spoke with Governor Tim Walz who “deeply apologizes” calling what happened “totally unacceptable.” “We want the media there to cover this,” he added, saying he accepts full responsibility.
However another CNN reporter Josh Campbell who is white, recalled being approached by the police in same area.
“I identified myself … they said, ‘OK, you’re permitted to be in the area”. I was treated much differently than (Jimenez) was.”
Before his arrest, Jimenez had tweeted;
“The images out of Minneapolis right now are unbelievable. Thousands in the streets, a police precinct on fire, fireworks being fired into those flames. All while we wait on whether charges will be filed against the officers involved in the death of George Floyd. #GeorgeFloyd.”
After the arrest, Jimenez showed he was back to work in a tweeted photo.