CNN reporter, formerly of WBAL, arrested while covering George Floyd protests in Minneapolis

A CNN reporter was arrested during a live broadcast Friday while reporting on protests in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer was seen on camera kneeling on his neck while he was in custody.

CNN journalist Omar Jimenez, formerly a reporter at WBAL-TV in Baltimore, and camera crew members were taken into police custody during the live broadcast at the site of protests.


The broadcast is timestamped around 5 a.m. Central Time with Jimenez and crew members reporting near a line of police officers.

Jimenez, who is black, looks over his shoulder as several police officers begin running. The camera turns to show police officers arresting a person — before then closing in on the CNN crew during their broadcast.


The journalists appear to identify themselves as media and offer to move to another location. The former WBAL reporter and was then put in handcuffs. His colleagues Bill Kirkos and Leonel Mendez were also taken away, with Mendez placing his still-running camera on the ground to record his arrest.

Jimenez and the crew were released shortly after.

“A CNN reporter & his production team were arrested this morning in Minneapolis for doing their jobs, despite identifying themselves — a clear violation of their First Amendment rights,” CNN said in a statement.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz apologized to CNN, saying he takes total responsibility for the arrest.

“This is a very public apology to that team,” Walz said at a news conference hours after the crew was released.

After being released, Jimenez recounted the experience on the air. He said police had arrested a protester who ran by the crew, then turned toward the reporter and the producers.

“Everyone, to their credit, was pretty cordial after [the arrest] happened,” he said, adding that the officer told Jimenez he was “just following orders.”

However, he said, no officials apologized for the incident as they were being released.

“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 just say, what’s going on with George Floyd, there’s always a discussion that what’s happening isn’t new, it’s being filmed.”

In a statement, Minnesota State Police said: “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.”

The National Association of Black Journalists condemned the arrest of Jimenez.

“We are relieved to see Omar has been released, but we are still disturbed by the apparent violation of First Amendment rights that are the bedrock of journalism,” NABJ tweeted Friday. Similarly, CNN competitors MSNBC, CBS News and Fox News all condemned the arrest.


Jimenez, an Atlanta native, came to Baltimore in 2015 following a stint at WGEM-TV in Quincy, Illinois.

Derek Chauvin, the police officer who was captured on video on with his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as Floyd was handcuffed and said he could not breathe, was arrested and charged with murder Friday. Chauvin and three other police officers who were present at the incident have been fired.

The Associated Press and Baltimore Sun reporter Daniel Oyefusi contributed to this article.

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