CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his US crew have been released from policy custody after their arrest live on air mid-broadcast from protests in Minneapolis.
The incident took place during the live filming of weekday morning show New Day.
Officers surrounded the crew as Jimenez reported live on air, before he was told that he was under arrest and placed in handcuffs, displaying them to the camera as he is walked away. After a moment, the crew are also placed into handcuffs.
“That is an American television reporter being led away by police officers. He clearly identified himself as a reporter and was respectfully explaining to the police that the CNN team was there and moving away as they would request, and then for some reason he was taken into police custody live on television,” said anchor John Berman off screen.
“I have never seen anything like this,” Berman added on several occasions. The camera continued to roll after the arrests, sitting on the floor at the feet of the officers.
Fellow CNN Josh Campell, who is white, was also in the area but was not arrested.
“I identified myself… they said, ‘OK, you’re permitted to be in the area’… What happened to Omar (Jimenez) was clearly a lot different… I was treated much differently than he (Jimenez) was,” he told the network.
CNN said in a statement, “A CNN reporter and 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 authorities in Minnesota, including the Governor, must release the three CNN employees immediately.”
Fierce protests have been raging in Minneapolis since an unarmed black man, George Floyd, died in police custody on Monday.
Jimenez and his crew were later released from policy custody after CNN president Jeff Zucker called state Governor Tim Walz.
“Everyone was pretty cordial after that [my arrest] happened,” said Jimenez, who added that a police officer told him he was “just following orders”.
“They weren’t violent with me, we were having conversation about how crazy this week has been for every single part of the city. A lot of these people are on edge,” the reporter continued. “The one thing that gave me a little bit of comfort was that it happened on live TV. When you talk within the community about, let’s say what happened with George Floyd, there’s discussion that, what’s happening isn’t new, it’s being filmed. That speaks to the power of having something that happens on camera. You can have people speak up for you without you saying anything.”