Following the death of an African-American man, George Floyd, who was arrested and pinned down by white, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, looters took to the streets of the city to protest against police brutality. Amid the protests turned riots, CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his crew were arrested by state patrol in riot gear at 5:11 a.m. local time while covering another arrest. Following the incident, social media users took to various platforms to air their frustrations, but some oddly questioned if it was a staged event.
Confirmed by the state patrol in a tweet posted to their official account, the authorities stated that while in the course of "clearing the streets and restoring order", four citizens were arrested by troopers, including three members of a CNN crew. "The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media," the statement concluded. However, in light of the inarguable proof and an apology from the governor, arguments have erupted online in the inquiry of why they were arrested since the crew identified themselves and were cooperative; and if it was staged.
"Suggesting events this morning were staged shows you know nothing about covering news in real time. CNN employees (and other outlets) get harassed just for having a logo on their gear - even when they are working on projects non news related. These are real people with families," one person wrote via Twitter, as several others defended the media.
Just a few minutes before Jimenez and his crew were arrested, he was reporting live on an arrest that was taking place in the area near a city police department precinct that protesters lit on fire late Thursday night, forcing officers to abandon the building. About a block away, a fire was burning at a four-story building that had contained restaurants. Jimenez was standing in front of a long line of police officers that were dressed in riot gear, and shortly after the CNN crew filmed the arrest, officers started closing in on the film crew. As seen in the Twitter video above, Jiminez did identify himself and his crew as they were willing to cooperate with officers.
"We can move back to where you'd like. We can move back to where you'd like here. we are live on the air at the moment," the reporter clearly stated. "This is the four of us. We are one team. Just put us back where you want us. We're getting out of your way. So just let us know. Wherever you'd want us, we will go. We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection. Let us know, and we've got you." Shortly after, two officers said, "You are under arrest."