Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz Apologizes for CNN Team's 'Unacceptable' Arrest As Journalists Released

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has apologized for the "totally unacceptable" arrest of a CNN journalist and his crew who were covering protests over the death of George Floyd.

CNN journalist Omar Jimenez and at least two members of his production crew were released from Minnesota State Patrol custody shortly after being arrested, the broadcaster confirmed to Newsweek.

The team was arrested during a live broadcast on Friday while covering the protests in Minneapolis.

Jimenez had identified his team as journalists to troopers and offered to relocate, but the reporter and crew members were soon handcuffed and arrested.

According to CNN, Walz apologized directly to CNN president Jeff Zucker and said he would be ordering the immediate release of the reporting team.

The governor said Jimenez and his team clearly had the right to report on the protests.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has apologized for the arrest of a CNN reporter and camera crew and says he will have them released. “It was totally unacceptable.” https://t.co/wVY0zMF1zD pic.twitter.com/mRA7HpA3gU

— New Day (@NewDay) May 29, 2020

He further said he accepted full responsibility for the incident, according to CNN.

Prior to receiving Walz's apology, the broadcaster had demanded that the journalists be released, accusing state law enforcement of violating the First Amendment rights of its reporting team.

In a statement published to Twitter, Minnesota State Patrol said troopers had made the arrest "in the course of clearing the streets and restoring order."

"Four people were arrested by State Patrol troopers, including three members of a CNN crew," Minnesota State Patrol said. "The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media."

The incident has sparked outrage across social media, with many pointing out that the CNN team had identified themselves as journalists and were clearly in the process of producing a live report when the arrests took place.

The law enforcement body has not responded to those criticisms. Newsweek has contacted MSP for comment.

Newsweek has also contacted the governor's office for further comment.

Floyd, whose death is at the center of the protests, died after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, was filmed kneeling on his neck for at least eight minutes, despite the man already being handcuffed and warning repeatedly that he could not breathe.

Four officers, including Chauvin, have been released from duty in the wake of the incident.

However, many, including high-profile politicians, such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, have demanded that Chauvin face murder charges.

On Thursday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said his office was still reviewing the evidence in the case and would not "rush to justice."

This article has been updated with more information on the incident, as well as with statements from the Minnesota State Patrol.

Tim Walz
Then-candidate for Governor Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) speaks with media members at his election night party on August 14, 2018 in St Paul, Minnesota. The governor has apologized for the arrests of CNN journalists reporting on the death of George Floyd. Stephen Maturen/Getty