George Floyd

Minnesota Police Arrest CNN Reporters for the Act of Doing Journalism During George Floyd Protests

So much for the First Amendment.

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The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids the government from "abridging the freedom of speech" and the freedom "of the press." Perhaps it's time for the Minnesota State Patrol to offer some basic education in First Amendment principles to the members of its own police force.

As CNN reports,

CNN journalist Omar Jimenez has been taken into police custody during a live broadcast at the site of the protests in Minneapolis, after clearly identifying himself to officers.

Jimenez's crew, including a producer and a camera operator, were also placed in handcuffs.

The CNN camera was also taken into custody and continued to record as the crew was handcuffed, with police seemingly unaware that the camera was still on.

Watch the video here.

The Minnesota State Patrol has since released the arrested journalists and issued a laughable explanation for why the officers committed this blatant First Amendment violation. According to the organization's official Twitter account, "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."

If you watch the video of the arrests, you can see that no such "confirmation" was needed. The three reporters were quite obviously members of the media doing their constitutionally protected jobs.

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  1. And nothing else happened.

    1. My prediction: A bunch of “libertarians” who do nothing but bitch that the libertarian magazine they hang out at isn’t part of the Trump cult will claim that this was a hoax by cnn or that they deserved it.

      1. I just come here to call you a twat these days.

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      2. That was going to be my prediction, too.

      3. The only person mentioning Trump is …. you.

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      4. How’s this for an opinion. Despite the fact that CNN, like every other 24 hour news network, is a garbage propaganda organization that is a net poison to public discourse. This one guy shouldn’t have been arrested. If you’re going to pretend like this is somehow symbolic of a larger animosity towards the press, it isn’t. Even though they completely deserve every ounce of the animosity.

        To Root – I imagine that what is laughable about the cops saying “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” is that it’s ridiculous that crew was released because they’re the press, but all these other pieces of shit that were just walking around get to rot in jail.

        1. “The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media” is that it’s ridiculous that crew was released because they’re the press, but all these other pieces of shit that were just walking around get to rot in jail.”

          Bingo

      5. Let’s see, we have an article about reporters arrested by the state police while reporting on protests against the local police in a city where the city council is 12 Democrats and 1 Green, the county attorney and sheriff are Democrats, and the state governor and AG are Democrats.

        I bet the usual left-wing idiots are going to try to deflect attention from an all-Democrat fuckup by talking about Trump.

        1. All that proves is that right-wing authoritarianism is so well-rooted in police culture that even a left-controlled jurisdiction can’t root it out of their police force.

  2. Recording isn’t speech, or a press!

    1. It is. It is well established that creating the speech is protected as well. The right to record police (as long as you are not interfering) is also well established.

      1. Corporations aren’t people!

        1. Of course not, which is why the New York Times and Fox News are not permitted to report the news.

        2. Doesn’t matter. 1st Amendment says freedom of the press regardless if it is corporate.

  3. Can we all be issued with reason magazine press credentials so that we, too, can exercise our first amendment rights by attending press conferences, riots, government hearings, etc.? What criteria does a city, state, feds use to determine who is a journalist and who isn’t?
    Maybe Koch can buy a network,put it under reason’s control, and all who subscribe can become journalists too.

    1. That’s not a bad idea.

  4. this was a hoax by cnn or they deserved it.

    1. How was it a hoax? They dressed dozens of people in State Trooper uniforms to stage it? As for deserving it, they did not and it is clearly shown on tape.

      1. trolling DOL for giggles, but thanks!

        1. It may be a joke to you, but there are many people who will believe it is a hoax and that they deserved it.

          1. Can you name one?

  5. A good lawyer might make some bank off this, if only for the publicity.

    1. Having the police pay and have that publicized is good.

      1. The individual officers should have to pay out of their own pockets without reimbursement or indemnification by the government. Also, the department should pay out of its own budget, in addition to the individual officers having to pay. Violation of constitutional rights and false arrest.

  6. Of course, the arrests of the CNN reporters, as well as the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent rioting, are all Trump’s fault.

    As are the changes in the earth’s magnetic field, the current Maunder Minimum, wave-particle duality, and most pernicious of all proton decay.

    1. No one here said anything about Trump in either of these incidents. What will be about Trump is when at some point later today, he will tweet something to the effect that CNN got what was coming to them.

  7. Public safety isn’t a first amendment issue. Reason is really trolling today. Laughably argued articles about riots, Twitter and more. I guess it’s intern time or just business as usual for the Koch heads.

    1. Arresting reporters is a massive 1A issue. There was no public safety issue at all, the scene was calm and the reporter specifically offered to move to another spot.

      1. How is arresting a reporter for being down there peacefully more of a 1A issue than arresting a random asshole for being down there peacefully?

        The press do not have any special rights and do not deserve to be treated as some kind of protected class. They’re important, but at the end of the day they are just people with cameras. People have the same rights whether they have a camera or not.

        1. ^this

          Fuck Reason progress uber alles

        2. By arresting reporters, the government is literally suppressing speech and the press. It is a violation of the constitution (4A) to arrest anyone for no reason, it is a second violation (1A) to arrest a reporter while they are reporting for no reason. It is not that the press have special rights, it is just an addition violation of the constitution. A person who is not reporting or filming being arrested is not a 1A issue cause they are not doing a 1A activity, but it is still a 4A issue.

          1. The press isnt a specially protected group. They dont have more rights than anyone else.

            1. The “press” is not a group, it is anyone engaging in that activity of publication, and that activity is protected by 1A.

            2. Precisely!
              It’s not like the first ammendment says “or the right of the people peaceably to assemble” immediately after freedom of the press.

          2. “A person who is not reporting or filming being arrested is not a 1A issue cause they are not doing a 1A activity…”

            This part of your post is incorrect. This is part of the 1A:

            “…or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

            I suppose it’s possible that the 4th person (the one not with CNN) arrested was simply loitering, or perhaps wandering around and eating a ham sandwich while watching the spectacle of protests/riots. Seems unlikely, but not impossible.

        3. The press do not have any special rights and do not deserve to be treated as some kind of protected class. They’re important, but at the end of the day they are just people with cameras. People have the same rights whether they have a camera or not.

          No one with a camera recording should be arrested whether they are “press” by conventional definition or not, unless they are committing an initiation of force.

    2. Yeah, because a CNN crew is a GENUINE THREAT to public safety. Yeah. That’s the ticket.

      1. If it weren’t for CNN’s wall to wall presidential coverage, we probably wouldn’t have Trump.

        1. There is always Fox. Trump votes really dont watch CNN that much.

          1. I don’t watch either. Both infuriate me. The way CNN has behaved for the last 4 years has made me hate Trump less than just letting him be himself ever would have. No matter how boorish and clownish he gets, they’re always right there to edit and misrepresent it to make whatever he says seem worse and then throw a toddler’s temper tantrum about it. They then go on to seeming ignore anything else that is happening in the country or make it about him.
            CNN is unquestionably doing the opposite of hurting Trump.

            1. The way CNN has behaved for the last 4 years has made me hate Trump less than just letting him be himself ever would have.

              ^ This x1000.

              1. ^This and that a 1000x more.

            2. CNN started going downhill when Zucker came on board. Once Trump started looking like a credible candidate in mid-2016, they mashed down on the gas pedal with nary a glance in the rearview mirror.

    3. Yes it is. The police jeopardized the safety of the reporters by arresting them. There is always risk inherent in making an arrest. The reporters were not jeopardizing public safety. It appeared the police did not issue any clear or lawful orders, nor gave the crew adequate time to comply.

      I NEVER thought I would EVER be defending CNN or the biased media. But coercive police power is more dangerous than a biased media.

  8. “So much for the First Amendment.”

    Yeah, thanks a lot Trump!

    1. Minneapolis government is predominantly Democratic.

  9. Considering the Minneapolis Police killed a man on camera, I’m not going to be clutching pearls with headlines that inform me that these guys are really bad at policing.

    1. And they failed to protect business owners from the mob.

      1. But at least their uniforms had “STATE POLICE” on them — they only got the words reversed, which is pretty competent for them.

  10. Maybe they should have identified themselves as professional journalists?

    1. Why are you asking them to lie like that?

    2. As opposed to “amateurs?” I am real sure the 1A doesn’t define any difference. (Unless you are being sarcastic, of course, in which case I will just smile and nod),

      1. Yes, I was.

  11. The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media

    “Their special 1st Amendment license checked out”

  12. As CNN reports,

    When CNN reports on itself, is it fake news, or fake fake news? Or is this like multiplying 2 negative numbers, where it’s now true news?

    1. If they’re so great at being meta, how come Trump is always beating them at 8d chess?

  13. This account is not entirely accurate.

    They were arrested becasue they failed to leave the area after repeatedly being told to do so.

    This is bog standard for this type of protest. Police move in, tell everyone to leave the area, and some reporter decides that it doesn’t mean them… so they get arrested. What is different here is that it was CNN instead of some indie reporter.

    The one thing that complicates matters is that they were dealing with the city police earlier and were told where to stand for their report. So they were kind of primed to think they had permission to be there.

    Then the state police came in and ordered *everyone* to leave the area. Reporter dude thought he could negotiate a different result by pulling out his press badge. He kept trying to negotiate some accommodation, but the state police were not listening to anything. They had orders to clear everyone…. they were going to clear everyone. They had many, many chances to simply move a half a block away and resume their standup report.

    CNN is so very, very happy today. They were practically giddy this morning when their guys got arrested. Now they have some street cred.

    The state police could have handled it better… but the reporter was trying to negotiate with a rank-and-file trooper in the center of a riot line. That’s not going to work. That guy has his orders, and they don’t include “let the CNN guy and his team stay there”, so he really doesn’t have that wiggle room. CNN could have easily moved out of the area and then found the liaison to get the access they needed.

    This wasn’t even the typical “we are documenting what the police are doing to the protesters” situation. They were well away from those interactions doing a live standup. There was nothing of critical “journalism” being done by staying there. It isn’t like the police had some group of kids surrounded and were beating them… everyone except CNN listened to the repeated announcements and moved out of the area as ordered.

    So no, I don’t think it is fair to invoke the 1st amendment in this case. The directive was clear – everyone leave this area. There was nothing in that area that required coverage.. it was an empty street at that point. And they weren’t covering it at any rate… they were offering up their opinions about the night in a live standup for the studio. So no speech was prevented. No reporting was prevented. Nobody was arrested for what they had to say. They were arrested because they didn’t leave the area when told to do so – and the order was both clear and legally predicated. They were not even prevented from seeing and recording anything of note. So nah… not a first amendment issue.

    We’ve had tons of those over the years – reporters recording what the police are doing to protesters and getting arrested. Reason’s reporting on this issue even motivated me to get interested enough to support a citizen-journalist activist that used to fight that fight (PINAC). That’s way different than this case. This case is “they could have accommodated the press and let them stay there, but they really were under no obligation to do so. At the same time, the reporting team could have accommodated the police and simply moved a short distance”

    1. This account is not entirely accurate.

      They were arrested becasue they failed to leave the area after repeatedly being told to do so.

      See – this is what drives me crazy about CNN. My first comment when I heard this story (not here, just to my wife out loud) was that it’s a sad commentary on CNN that my first instinct is to assume they’re lying or omitting some fairly crucial piece of information, even when it seems really cut-and-dried, and here we are.

      They could have taken the stance that even though they had been requested multiple times to leave, that they still had a 1A right to stay in the area and film what the police were doing. It’s a debatable point, though, and we can’t have that. Better to pretend that something else entirely is happening.

    2. Yep. The 1A protects an activity, not a person. If anyone there could be subject to arrest then everyone there could be subject to arrest.

  14. Fuck CNN’s “freedom of the press”. There is no special First Amendment right for Professional Licensed Journalists™ – freedom of the press refers to the printing press and not the news media. Back in the day, there were only two ways of getting a message out, speaking and writing. There was no radio, no TV, no internet – if you wanted to broadcast a message it meant newspapers, pamphlets, bill boards, books, the written word. “Journalist” simply means anybody keeping a journal, a written record of the events of the day and thoughts thereof. I’m a journalist doing journalism right now, exercising my freedom of the press. If Reason wants to kick me off their platform right now, there’s no freedom of speech or freedom of the press infringement involved, it’s their platform and they can do whatever they want with it. Professional Licensed Journalist™ types seem to think they can do whatever they want and the laws don’t apply to them, like parking their fucking trucks in the right-hand lane of Capitol Avenue during rush hour so they can do their fucking live broadcasts from the State Capitol as if they were fucking UPS drivers or something and they can just park in the middle of the road if they want.

  15. This is about CNN; how is “the press” involved?

  16. Two things sound very fishy about this story.

    1. The First Amendment does not say that any of the rights it protects belong only to professional journalists. Any guy with a camera, or even just a notebook, has as much right to use it as a professional in all circumstances.

    2. People from CNN? Doing actual journalism? That hasn’t happened since before Obama took office.

  17. I think this was a case of “reporting while Black” or perhaps “photographing while Black” rather than aimed at journalists in general. A white crew doing the same thing wasn’t bothered by the cops.

  18. This is a consequence of the Supreme Court ruling saying that members of the press “have no constitutional right of access to the scenes of crime or disaster when the general public is excluded.” Branzburg v. Hayes.

    As a result, police have been given authority to treat the press just like anyone else and run them out of newsworthy events just because they can. This means, in the case of a riot, when the police order the area cleared, it technically includes journalists, although policies about police cooperation with journalists vary widely.

    In practical effect, as a credentialed journalist its a crapshoot whether you will be politely moved along, soundly thrashed and tear gassed like the rest of the crowd, or be protected by and/or behind police lines.

    It depends on the department policy and the feelings of the individual officer you are facing.

    In most cases if you argue with the cop, you will be rousted or arrested, as in this case, and eventually maybe the cop will get a wrist slap from a supervisor.

    Is this right? I don’t think so. I think credentialed journalists *should* have a certain degree of immunity so that they can be the proxies for the public in observing and documenting events.

    But with “citizen journalists” and “1st Amendment Audits” by non-professional provocateurs annoying the police, I expect the situation to get worse, not better for credentialed professional journalists.

    And much worse for non-credentialed citizen reporters.

    And they do so, routinely, all over the US.

  19. Seems like the explanation for the arrest of journalists in this instance might well be described as an exercise in “CYA”. Legal action by the media people to follow?

  20. I think cops probably don’t visit airports or hotel lobbies. So when they said CNN they probably didn’t believe they were journalists. In fairness they aren’t journalists. The only confusing part was letting them go when they were right the first time.

  21. CNN does journalism?

  22. Sorry, Damon, this was not a protest, this was a riot.

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  24. Freedom of press?? 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 electrician cedar park

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