Demonstrations in Minneapolis flared into full-on riots days after the public slaying of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by a white police officer. As the streets flooded with protestors, one CNN reporter covering the developments was arrested by police, live on television.
The Governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, is now apologizing profoundly to CNN for the circumstance, accepting full responsibility for the apprehension of Omar Jimenez, the black journalist who was simply trying to document the mounting violence in Minneapolis.
“I take full responsibility,” Walz said. “There is absolutely no reason something like this should happen. Calls were made immediately. This is a very public apology to that team: It should not happen.”
Walz said in the press conference that he had spoken over the phone with CNN President Jeff Zucker, who had apparently “Demanded to know what happened.” Walz maintained that he values the role of a free and independent press.
“I am a teacher by trade,” the Democratic governor said. “And I have spent my time as governor highlighting the need to be as transparent as possible and have the press here. I failed you last night in that.”
Jimenez, the journalist, was arrested as Minnesota State Patrol officers attempted to clear the area where his team was filming.
“We have got to ensure that there is a safe spot for journalism to tell the story,” Walz commented, adding, “I appreciate President Zucker’s call, I appreciate his understanding of the situation that he was rightfully incredibly angry. And that falls squarely on me.”
On the third day of protests in Minneapolis, a police precinct was set ablaze, and has since burned to the ground. After activating the National Guard to break-up the crowds, Walz tried to balance his demand for order with a sense of empathy for demonstrators. “The ashes are symbolic of years and generations of pain, of anguish,” he said, recognizing the systems of racism that have fueled the protests. But he maintained, “we have to restore order.”