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A tweet from the official Minnesota State Patrol account concerning the arrest of three CNN journalists early Friday morning has been criticized for being wildly inaccurate.
Omar Jimenez and his crew were arrested on live TV while covering protests in Minneapolis. The arrests came amid continued protests in the city — and other parts of the country — following the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a white police officer.
Jimenez and crew clearly identified themselves as press (Jimenez sporting his press ID) during the arrest. Journalists are allowed by law to cover protests. The crew has since been released from police custody and the governor personally apologized to CNN’s Jeff Zucker.
Still, at 5 a.m. PT, the verified MSP account posted: “In the course of clearing the streets and restoring order at Lake Street and Snelling Avenue, four people were arrested by State Patrol troopers, including three members of a CNN crew. The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.”
The tweet was immediately blasted by users, among them numerous journalists, for being wildly erroneous.
“This is not accurate – our CNN crew identified themselves, on live television, immediately as journalists. We thank Minnesota @GovTimWalz for his swift action this morning to aid in the release of our crew,” the official CNN communications account responded.
ABC News’ Clayton Sandell replied, “This is an absolutely ridiculous explanation. These officers need a little remedial training in document [sic] known as the United States Constitution.”
And the Freedom on the Press Foundation pushed back, writing, “Watch the whole video. CNN reporter and camera crew are arrested live on national TV, while doing nothing wrong, being respectful, and asking where they should go. This is after two days of other reporters getting tear gassed and hit by rubber bullets coming from the police.”
Journalists were not the only ones irate over the post; director Ava DuVernay also lambasted the tweet.
“That’s not what happened. This is a lie. We all saw it. This spin is erroneous and disingenuous. You do your organization a disservice by even trying this nonsense. Stop tweeting and learn how to do your jobs properly. Start with reading the constitution,” she said via Twitter.
The tweet was mocked by numerous others, such as Westworld star Jeffrey Wright, who said the camera should have given some clue as to what the small group was doing: “Y’all are aware those cameras & mics record things, yeah?”
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