Black CNN Reporter Omar Jimenez Arrested Live on Air Covering Minneapolis Protests

Josh Campbell, a white CNN journalist, said he was “treated much differently”

CNN's Omar Jimenez arrested by Minnesota state police covering protests
CNN's Omar Jimenez was arrested by state police while reporting live on air Friday morning.
Screenshot via @CNN on Twitter
By Alex Lauer / May 29, 2020 12:15 pm

On Friday morning in Minneapolis, where protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, while in police custody spilled over from Thursday night, Omar Jimenez was reporting live on air for CNN. 

Around 5 a.m., Jimenez, along with a CNN producer and photojournalist, was arrested by state police. If you were watching the channel at the time, you already know this, because it happened live on air. 

According to CNN, police said “they were being detained because they were told to move and didn’t,” although that account directly contradicts what can be seen in the live video coverage. Jimenez can be heard saying, “We can move back to where you like. We are live on the air here. … Put us back where you want us.” After that, officers in masks and face shields take Jimenez and his crew away one by one, with the shot ending with the CNN camera on the ground.

You can watch the full incident here:

That’s not the only contradiction between statements from officials and what can be seen on the live report. After the arrest, Minnesota State Patrol tweeted a statement, writing, “The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.” But Jimenez and his crew confirmed that themselves before the arrest. Additionally, fellow CNN journalist Josh Campbell, who was reportedly “not standing with the on-air crew,” was not arrested.

“I identified myself … they said, ‘OK, you’re permitted to be in the area,’” said Campbell. “I was treated much differently than (Jimenez) was.”

As CNN notes, Campbell is white. Jimenez is black and Latino. 

The difference in treatment between a black reporter and a white reporter from the same organization, caught on camera for the entire world to see and judge for themselves, paired with contradictory statements from the police, reflects the situation that led to the Minneapolis protests in the first place.

In a now widely shared video, white officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on George Floyd’s neck until the black man lost consciousness. Floyd was later pronounced dead. While protesters are calling for Chauvin’s arrest and prosecution on a murder charge, on Thursday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said “there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge.”

As for Jimenez and crew, they were released about an hour after the arrest, reportedly thanks to intervention from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. 

Here is a recap of the incident from Jimenez himself:

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