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Minnesota Protests: CNN Reporter Omar Jimenez Talks About ‘Surreal’ Arrest

I was "getting arrested by the police in the midst of a story where the police are under criticism for how they are dealing with the public."

Reporter Omar Jimenez was arrested on live TV by Minneapolis police while covering the George Floyd protests. Jimenez identified himself with his badge and offered full compliance to the cops who decided to interrupt the national telecast and take him — and producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez —  to the city’s downtown public safety building, releasing them at 6am CT.

The Morning After

Showing his resilience, a trademark of oppressed but proud people, Jimenez spoke to CNN reporters today — live from the scene –about his ordeal, sharing how “surreal it was.” 

 “You get in this reporting mode where you’re talking about what’s happening around you and you don’t want it to be the case, but you actually become the story and get involved in it. But then when things begin to shift you have to switch off reporter mode and become a human that was getting arrested by the police in the midst of a story where the police are under criticism for how they are dealing with the public.”

Legacy of Freedom Fighters

 “As we were sitting in the back of the van being transported downtown, we are cuffed in the back and a lot of thoughts went through my mind…my grandmother who had been arrested when she was marching in the Civil Rights movement. She had been arrested multiple times and when I called her she jokingly welcomed me into the club. 

My mom…her biggest fear was that… In her mind, I had disappeared”

Video Saves The Day…Again

“As we’ve been analyzing how this story has affected communities across the country, particularly in the Black community. There’s one message that sticks out. When people say, ‘things are getting so much worse. How can things be this bad?”… Partly that, but also it’s not that it’s getting worse, it’s that it’s getting filmed and the fact that this played out on live television the account was very clear as to what happened. There’s no doubt as to what happened. You saw it. I lived it and the audience saw it as opposed to so many situations where there is no camera.”

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