Minnesota police arrest CNN reporter and crew on live TV as they cover Minneapolis protests

Key Points
  • Black reporter Omar Jimenez had just shown a protester being arrested when about half a dozen white police officers surrounded him.
  • The CNN reporter explained to police officers that he is a member of the press.
  • The reporter and his crew were released from police custody later Friday. 
Police arrest a member of a CNN crew broadcasting live while covering protests related to the death of of African-American man George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. May 29, 2020, in this still image taken from video.
CNN via ReutersTV

Minnesota State Patrol arrested a CNN reporter live on television early Friday while covering the Minneapolis protests, without giving any reason, and led him and three crew members away in handcuffs.

CNN posted the video online.

Black reporter Omar Jimenez had just shown a protester being arrested when about half a dozen white police officers surrounded him.

"We can move back to where you like," he told the officers wearing gas masks and face shields, before explaining that he and his crew were members of the media. "We're getting out of your way."

The officers put the reporter's microphone on the ground before putting Jimenez's hands behind his back and placing him under arrest. A CNN producer and cameraman were arrested shortly afterward, also on live TV. The crew was released from police custody later Friday morning. 

The journalists were in Minneapolis covering the city's violent reaction to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after an officer knelt on his neck during an arrest. Video captured Floyd gasping, "I can't breathe." Four officers involved in the confrontation were fired, but no charges have been filed. 

Images from protests in Minneapolis over death of George Floyd

On Twitter, CNN called the arrests of its journalists a "clear violation" of First Amendment rights and called for Minnesota authorities, including Gov. Tim Walz, to release them immediately. 

The CNN journalists were wearing masks as they reported on the unrest amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Walz apologized for the journalists' arrest and said he would have them released, according to a tweet from CNN. The news outlet reported that Walz spoke with CNN President Jeff Zucker and said the arrest was "totally unacceptable" while taking full responsibility.

Jimenez posted shortly after being released from custody that he was back on the scene reporting once again.

Correction: CNN journalist Omar Jimenez was arrested while covering the protests in Minneapolis on Friday, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz later apologized for the arrest. Both men's surnames were misspelled in an earlier version of this article.

—Reuters contributed to this report.