After the arrest of a CNN crew on live television, an apologetic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz promised that journalists would not be interfered with in reporting on protests over the death of George Floyd, reports the Associated Press. CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and two colleagues were released within an hour after network chief executive Jeff Zucker called Walz to demand answers about why they were held in a police van. Jimenez and colleagues Bill Kirkos and Leonel Mendez were doing a live shot for CNN’s “New Day” after 5 a.m., describing a night of fire and anger after Floyd’s death. When approached by officers, Jimenez told them, “put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way.” After being told he was being arrested and his hands were tied behind his back, Jimenez asked why he was being arrested. He did not get an answer.
The Minnesota State Patrol said on Twitter that the journalists were among four people arrested as troopers were “clearing the streets and restoring order.” Jimenez was holding what appeared to be a laminated ID card before his hands were secured, and his fellow crew members told police that they were from CNN and showing the scene live on the air.“ Walz said, “I take full responsibility. There is absolutely no reason something like that should happen … This is a very public apology to that team.” The arrest drew widespread condemnation across the news industry. CNN competitors MSNBC, CBS News and Fox News issued statements backing Jimenez, along with the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists. Walz’s words in support of journalists have impact at a time when the news media is under attack, said Jane Kirtley, professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota.