WASHINGTON, DC, May 29, 2020–The Military Reporters and Editors association criticized Minnesota State Patrol for arresting three CNN crew members this morning.
The state police arrested the CNN journalists just after 5am local time, while they were broadcasting live on air about racial unrest in Minneapolis. They were released about an hour later.
In footage of the incident, CNN reporter Omar Jimenez can be seen displaying his press credentials and calmly cooperating with police.
“Put us back where you want us, we are getting out of your way,” he told the police shortly before they are seen handcuffing him and leading him off.
State police later tweeted that the CNN journalists were let go “once they were confirmed to be members of the media.”
MRE President John M. Donnelly said the following:
“The press has a right and a duty to report the news where it happens. Reporters typically do their utmost to cooperate with law enforcement, as Omar Jimenez and his colleagues did today. It is an unconscionable assault on press freedom that should shock every American that these journalists were arrested after clearly showing they were reporters and even as they were recording live.
“I was in St. Paul during the 2008 Republican convention in the Twin Cities, and I saw police sweep up several dozen reporters then as they cracked down on what were in many cases largely peaceful demonstrations. The Twin Cities had to pay tens of thousands of dollars in settlements to news organizations that later sued. But it seems police there have not learned a simple lesson: reporters clearly displaying press credentials who are cooperating with police should never be arrested in the United States of America.”
MRE, based in Washington, D.C., is a membership organization representing journalists and other professionals who specialize in national security. MRE’s mission is partly to advocate for the rights of the press, in addition to fostering networking among media professionals and educating them and the public about the U.S. military.
Contact: MRE President John M. Donnelly: firstname.lastname@example.org.