Minnesota State Patrol Chastised For On-Air Arrest of CNN Crew

CNN frame grab fair use.

by Alex Lloyd Gross

Tensions are high in Minnesota, as two days of rioting saw the 3rd district police station set on fire, and countless other businesses looted or set on fire as well. That is no excuse,  for the egregious conduct orchestrated by members of the Minnesota State Patrol who arrested a CNN crew that was doing nothing wrong. The reporter Omar Jiimenez is a minority.

The debacle started just after 5:30 AM  May 29 2020 when the crew were standing in the street doing a live stand up with a phalanx of riot police in the background.  Within a few seconds, you can see a group of troopers storm the area and forcefully take a woman into custody, which was filmed by the crew. As they state patrol surrounded the crew, they told them they were filming live. That remark resulted in a trooper taking control of expensive sound equipment, and as Jimenez is trying to give his report. He is showing press credentials to the Lt. who does not care.

At the same time, the very expensive sound equipment is dropped to the ground and Jimenez was cuffed and hauled away. The rest of the crew suffered the same fate, leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars of delicate equipment in the hands and custody of untrained troopers. For any arrest to be valid, a clear and lawful order must be given to the crew and they must be given reasonable time to comply. This was not done. Instead,  tactics used by Nazi storm troopers were used. The CNN crew had no idea where to go. However, the cameras were rolling which showed the police were clueless as to how to safely operate and secure the equipment.As the CNN crew asked where they could report from they were told they were being arrested.

The crew was released within one hour. As the arrest played out on live television, the Governor got involved and was not happy with what he saw.  The State Patrol issued a statement that read, they released the crew once they discovered they were journalists.  That statement means that those Troopers were too stupid to know that a $200,000 broadcast camera and $1,000,000,.00  broadcast truck parked nearby belonged to journalists, or they simply did not care.

This kind of tactic is called “catch and release”. It is illegal and breeds distrust of police. In a statement by the National Press Photographers Association, issued a statement strongly condemning the arrest of the crew. They alluded to the possibility of a lawsuit filed by the network.