A CNN correspondent and two members of his crew have been arrested live on air while broadcasting from protests in Minneapolis over George Floyd’s death.
Omar Jimenez, who was covering the demonstrations that have erupted in the city, was handcuffed and taken away after telling officers the crew would go wherever they wanted them to.
A producer and a camera operator were also detained.
The camera continued rolling and broadcasting the whole time, even as it was taken away from the crew.
The crew was released around two hours later.
Viewers expressed shock at the scene:
Police told CNN that the journalists had been arrested “for not following orders to clear the street.”
Jimenez’s colleague Josh Campbell, who was elsewhere in the city covering the protests, was not arrested.
Yet Campbell told New Day that his experience had been “the opposite of what Omar just experienced.” It “crossed my mind” it could have been because he is white and Jimenez is Black, Campbell said.
CNN had called for the release of its employees in a statement shared on Twitter.
“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,” it read. “The authorities in Minnesota, incl. the Governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately.”
John Berman, the co-host of New Day, reported that CNN president Jeff Zucker had spoken to Minnesota governor Tim Walz, a Democrat, and said the governor had apologised.
Walz took “full responsibility” for the incident, Berman reported.
Upon his release, Jimenez suggested there’d been “a little bit of confusion” from police about where the crew was allowed to be.
The arresting officers were “pretty cordial,” he added. They talked about “how crazy” the week had been, he said, and he asked for guidance on where the crew should be while reporting on future demonstrations.
Floyd, a Black man, died in Minneapolis on Monday after a police officer knelt on his neck, sparking protests that have now spread nationwide. Four officers have been fired, but no criminal charges have been filed.
Demonstrators in Minneapolis have clashed with police officers and torched buildings.