CNN crew released after on-air arrest while covering Minneapolis protests

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MINNEAPOLIS — A CNN crew was arrested while on the air covering the Minneapolis protests Friday morning.

Correspondent Omar Jimenez was reporting live on CNN shortly after 5 a.m. local time when he, along with producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez, were taken into custody. The video continued as the three were led away by Minnesota State Patrol officers in body armor.

They have since been released from police custody, CNN reported.

According to CNN, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Friday morning that he “deeply apologizes” for the arrests, which he described as “unacceptable.”

After the crew’s release, Jimenez said he gained “a little bit of comfort” from knowing that the arrest was seen as it was happening.

“I was living what was happening and the country was seeing what was happening unfold in real-time before their eyes,” he said. “As we were walking away, and you were taking in the entire neighborhood that had been decimated from the passion of the protesters and unfortunately some of the rioting and looting that we had seen, it did cross my mind that, what is really happening here?”

After the arrests, an officer picked up the crew’s camera and moved it away as it continued to broadcast.

Police claimed the crew was arrested because they were told to move and didn’t comply. Jimenez was seen on air repeatedly asking the officers where they wanted his crew to move to.

CNN tweeted on the arrests: “A black reporter from CNN was arrested while legally covering the protests in Minneapolis. A white reporter also on the ground was not.”

The network’s official public relations Twitter account tweeted: “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, incl. the Governor, must release the 3 CNN employees immediately.”

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