During an early morning live shot covering the ongoing unrest in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, Minnesota state police advanced on and arrested a CNN correspondent and camera crew covering the event. The three-person crew was live on air around 5 a.m. CST (6 a.m. EST) when police in riot gear began approaching correspondent Omar Jimenez. The officers briefly encircled the crew and then over the course of several minutes handcuffed and arrested everyone. Audio can be heard of Jimenez calmly explaining that the group is a CNN crew covering the news event and that it would be willing to move if it’s in the way. “We can move back to where you like. We are live on the air here. … Put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way—wherever you want us [we’ll] get out of your way,” Jimenez said before he was led away. “We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection.” There’s no audible response from the police on the video, but Jimenez and then a cameraperson continued to narrate the arrest until they were each handcuffed and taken away.
The network said that another one of its reporters, who is white, was in the area but not arrested:
CNN’s Josh Campbell, who also was in the area but not standing with the on-air crew, said he, too, was approached by police, but was allowed to remain. “I identified myself … they said, ‘OK, you’re permitted to be in the area,’ ” recounted Campbell, who is white. “I was treated much differently than [Jimenez] was.” Jimenez is black and Latino.*
“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. The authorities in Minnesota, including the Governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately,” CNN said in a statement. The network later confirmed that the journalists were released shortly after their arrest.
For more of Slate’s news coverage, listen to What Next: TBD.
Correction, May 29, 2020: This piece originally misspelled Josh Campbell’s last name.