CNN reporter and crew arrested while reporting on riots in Minneapolis, Twitter hides a Trump tweet for “glorifying violence”

May 29, 2020 • 8:15 am

Things are going to hell in Minneapolis as riots and protests broke out following the police-caused (alleged) murder of George Floyd, killed while a police officer knelt on his neck. The cops are clearly on edge, and, in a boneheaded move, they arrested a CNN team covering the riots, including reporter Omar Jimenez, the cameraman, and the producer. This is after Omar identified himself as a journalist and part of a team, and offered to move out of the way to wherever the state police indicated.

In this 6½-minute video (click on screenshot), the cops arrest Omar, take his microphone, cuff him, and then do the same to the rest of the team. I cannot hear any response to his question about why he was being arrested. These are state police, not the local police who took the life of Floyd, and they are supposed to be more elite and trained that “regular” cops. But they sure don’t act like it.

In all my years of watching the news, I’ve never seen a news crew arrested by the cops, and in this case there’s no apparent reason. The team offered to step aside, but no dice. This is surely some violation of the law: even if the reporters were “trespassing”, they offered to move.

 

Trump is having his usual Twitter tantrums about this, threatening to call out the National Guard. And, in fact, one of his tweets was HIDDEN by Twitter. I show the original and the reveal (third and fourth tweets). I can’t recall another Trump tweet that was hidden in this way, but Twitter is cracking down on the Head Moron:

What you see on Twitter before you click “learn more” and see the second Tweet above:

64 thoughts on “CNN reporter and crew arrested while reporting on riots in Minneapolis, Twitter hides a Trump tweet for “glorifying violence”

  1. In all my years of watching the news, I’ve never seen a news crew arrested by the cops, and in this case there’s no apparent reason.

    This protest is about the Minneapolis courts exonerating some police officers for an alleged murder caught on video. I suppose these officers figure those same courts will exonerate them for the ‘lesser’ crime of a 1st amendment violation caught on video.

    I expect they’re right.

      1. Good to know, thanks!

        But I think the logic might still apply somewhat. ‘If we can get away with that, we’ll be allowed to get away with this.’

            1. I suspect a large part of it is deadly fear of doing the wrong thing before they have all the evidence. Still, it seems pretty simple but, as we know, things are often not as simple as they seem. Unfortunately, they are not handling the situation well at all. In one press conference, one of them said that they were looking at additional evidence that had just come to light, or something like that. To people that expect authorities to find any excuse not to charge the police officers, this sounded bad.

              1. I can’t imagine ANY additional evidence that would make the police action towards George Floyd justifiable.
                I don’t think the police racism and brutality will stop until reforms in every police department in the USA makes some big changes. I see all the police chiefs in other cities speaking out, saying how wrong the Minneapolis police were in this action. But, I suspect another motive there is that these other police chiefs are hoping that speaking out will keep the spotlight away from their own departments.
                There is a police officer in my town who owns a printing and uniform business that does a lot of work for local police departments around here. After the killing by police of Eric Garner in NYC, this police officer designed and sold a t-shirt that said “Breathe easy – Don’t Break the Law.” I am sickened by this. But, our Mayor and police chief don’t think there is anything in our police department that needs to change.

              2. I would agree, based on what we know as regular folk watching everything on the evening news. I suspect that the attorney general wants to follow a process before bringing charges. Clearly they don’t want to “rush to judgement” based on sentiment on the street. They also want to avoid the appearance of having been swayed by public opinion. Still, they could have handled it better. There was no need to imply the existence of other evidence regardless of whether it really exists or not.

              3. And if the positions were reversed, with a cop on the ground, would they still be not “rushing to judgment” and gathering additional evidence? I think we know the answer to that.

              4. No, they wouldn’t. While the situation is inherently asymmetric, I still think the police rules of engagement are wrong. IMHO, their first duty should be to prevent harm. Instead, they seem as if they walk around waiting and hoping for an opportunity to use “justified” force.

              5. Well, they’ve arrested the one cop on 3rd degree murder charges, which I didn’t even know was a thing, but apparently is in three states.

  2. There is a video clip of a person wearing all black, a full face mask and carrying an umbrella smashing windows during one of the protests, while several other people try to stop him.

    Video of Alleged Police Officer Vandal

    A person claiming to be the vandal’s ex-wife identified him as a police officer. I do hope this is investigated. Looks like it’s well past time to clean house in the Minneapolis police department. This whole incident has got me leaning toward NWA’s point of view.

    1. There are also videos and pictures of organized groups of white people methodically arranging storage pallets that they must have brought themselves to start fires. I’m beyond stunned by these people’s depravity.

      1. I feel the same way. Also enraged. Also sad.

        I think law enforcement in the USA has been going down the wrong path for a long time.

        1. It’s so indescribably sad. I moved away a little less than a year ago, but Minneapolis has been my hometown for 40 years. I am being inundated with tragic stories from friends who live there. I really hate to admit it, but this event has caused me to feel strongly about racial injustice in a way I haven’t before. I spent time this morning crying thinking about my black friends, and their children, and how they have to live their entire lives with a constant undertone of fear. There is part of me that thinks white supremacists are so unthinkingly tribalistic as to be beyond remediation. But there’s another part that knows we have to do something, we have to try. One tiny way of helping (although perhaps it’s not so tiny after all) is to be more vocally intolerant of racism on social media. Perhaps social pressure to behave from enough people will show racists that there is no safety in numbers, that their each chamber is much smaller than they thought.

          1. I’m sorry musical beef, I didn’t know that this was so close to home for you. I hope for the best for your friends (valueless, but there it is, I can’t help it).

            “Perhaps social pressure to behave from enough people will show racists that there is no safety in numbers, that their each chamber is much smaller than they thought.”

            The rise in overt racist behavior we’ve seen over recent years seems to me to show that social pressure was all that had kept a significant number of people in check in earlier years. The only alternative is that lots of people have recently developed racist views from scratch. That just doesn’t seem plausible to me. I don’t think there is any doubt that the increase is due to people that have long had racist views feeling less social pressure to prevent them from acting on those views.

          2. My brother and his family live about ten minutes away from the precinct station involved in this case.

  3. I believe this is a case of the state police in Minnesota not knowing or understand what the hell they are doing regarding riot control. Such a waste and also stupid. You might say they arrested the CNN news team because they had nothing else to do?

    Now the Trump tweeter. That is just pretty much Trump. One thing you know for sure with him. All you get is opinion, his opinion all the time. He insights violence just by opening the mouth.

    1. “I believe this is a case of the state police in Minnesota not knowing or understand what the hell they are doing regarding riot control.”
      One thing that they apparently DID know: the difference between a black CNN crew and a white CNN crew.

  4. I hope the political left doesn’t take the position, because they hate Trump, that Twitter and other social media platforms SHOULD start fact-checking (and virtue-checking) everyone’s posts. Plenty of politicians, institutions, and local idiots have said untrue, unfair, and incendiary things on Twitter. I don’t trust the people at Twitter to say what’s worthy and what’s not. Let the idiots (like Trump) expose themselves. Let the readers decide for themselves.

    1. Perhaps it would be ok to hold government officials tweeting in their official capacity to higher standards. That doesn’t seem to me to be a slippery slope.

    2. Why shouldn’t Tweeter or Facebook be held to the same standard as other media such as television or radio?

      1. If the question were, “why aren’t…..” the answer is simple, because that’s the law.

        However, the “why shouldn’t” question you raise is not simple (of course). At a practical level they are not the publisher and can’t police the number of postings on these huge platforms in real time. The complaints process is cumbersome and often applied in a capricious manner. Were Trump a regular person his feed would have been shut down many times already.

        It also doesn’t help that lawmakers have almost no understanding of how these things work (neither do I) and so can’t even ask relevant questions at hearings. (See for example the lists of “stupid questions congress asked Zuckerberg” available online to get a measure of their cluelessness.

        I don’t have a solution, but I can see a lot of issues relating to free speech that need to be addressed carefully. Unintended consequences of dealing with the Trump fiasco could stay with us for a long time.

        1. Congress questioning people like Zuckerberg and Dorsey is just silly. They are classic examples of politicians trying hard to appear to be doing something. These are very complex issues and need to be handled by specialists who are versed in the technology and the issues. Some kind of task force should question the social media companies, if there are things they need to know.

          1. “Congress questioning people like Zuckerberg and Dorsey is just silly. They are classic examples of politicians trying hard to appear to be doing something . . . . very complex issues and need to be handled by specialists . . . .”

            Should standards for qualifying to run for Congress (and for POTUS for that matter) be made more rigorous by constitutional amendment? Are media types somehow more qualified to ask relevant, spot-on questions?

            1. I’d say “no” to both questions.

              There would just be a bitter partisan fight over any presidential qualifying exam. The only way we’re going to get better presidents is for the voting public to get more educated. Prospects don’t look good right now.

              Both the media and the politicians should make liberal use of subject experts that make reports for all to read and comment. Both should use this information to decide what to tell regular folk and to make laws. They already do this fairly well though Trump is notorious for listening to no one but himself. Since he lies to everyone constantly and looks out for himself only, he thinks everyone else operates this way. He’ll never trust experts as he’s not smart enough to verify what they say is true.

        2. Unregulated powerful platforms such as Facebook or Tweeter is not the answer either. The current condition is the wild west. And it is also very likely the end of our so called democratic system. Just use the Russian influence as an example.

        3. Big difference between a “platform” and a media outlet such as radio or television. Radio and television are actually creating content, and they can be held liable for it. So they have to fact-check to protect themselves if nothing else. Other end of the spectrum — Verizon is not responsible for what I say on the phone. Twitter should stay on the Verizon end of the spectrum, otherwise they’re going to be running editorial for 340 million people.

        4. It also doesn’t help that lawmakers have almost no understanding of how these things work …

          The apotheosis was the statement by hidebound Republican former US senator from Alaska (and ci-devant convicted felon) Ted Stevens that the internet is “a series of tubes.”

          1. N.B.-Ted Stevens’ indictment and conviction were reversed due to gross prosecutorial misconduct (concealing evidence, submitting false statements, etc.). Also, a fuller version of your Stevens quote is something like “the internet is NOT A BIG TRUCK but a series of tubes”. Seems to me, his metaphor is accurate, especially at the time he made that statement.

            1. “Ted Stevens’ indictment and conviction were reversed …” — Yes, which is why I described him as a ci-devant convicted felon, which is to say, one formerly having such status, but no longer so.

              As to the aptness of his “series of tubes” metaphor (if, indeed, a metaphor he meant it to be), well, à chacun son goût.

    3. “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” coming from a figure of such authority is, IMO, incitement-like enough that I have little problem with a private corporation censoring it.

      I recognize that the government couldn’t because it doesn’t meet the legal definition of incitement (not specific enough). I think that’s a good thing, I’m certainly not advocating for lowing free speech protections. And, IANAL. But as I understand it, criminal law incitement and civil law contribution to harm (by whatever term might be used) will have different standards of proof. So it’s legally possible for Trump to say something not criminally inciteful that nevertheless gets twitter in civil suit trouble if they promulgate it. In their defense, I think it’s perfectly appropriate to say something like “if Trump wants to say things like that, he can say them on the WH web site – WE won’t be a party to it.”

      1. So it’s legally possible for Trump to say something not criminally inciteful that nevertheless gets twitter in civil suit trouble if they promulgate it.

        Interactive computer services such as Twitter have immunity from liability for posting (or refusing to post) such material pursuant to section 230 of Chapter 47 of the United States Code.

        This “Section 230 immunity” is under attack on two fronts. One faction wants to treat Twitter (and other social media) essentially as public utilities that would be legally prohibited from censoring content on the basis of its viewpoint. The other faction seeks to have Twitter (and other social media) treated the same as print-media “publishers” who can be held civilly liable (for defamation or libel, for example) for what their “authors” (viz., posters) say.

        1. It does seem like some middle ground is where social media needs to fall. Holding them liable for what their users say is not going to fly for many reasons. On the other hand, letting users sort out truth from lie doesn’t work so well on social media. Two things seem clear to me, the anonymity of social media is a big problem. It allows all the bots and let’s people hide from responsibility for their speech. I’ll admit that I haven’t looked at the downsides for eliminating anonymity but I’d start there.

            1. They could still have interesting handles (eg, “Everyday Astronaut” @Erdayastronaut) but their real name discoverable by going to their “profile” page. Similarly for organizations. I’m sure there will be difficulties and edge cases but these things are worth sorting out. Of course, in the early days of the internet people lauded the ability to be anonymous. Now not so much.

      2. “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”
        This phrase goes back to the civil rights era, invoked by a Miami police chief cracking down on segregationist protests. It was also used by George Wallace, racist extraordinaire, during his 1968 campaign.
        I don’t know who fed Trump that phrase (Miller?), but it is another way to whip up more hate from his racist supporters. Surprise, surprise.

    4. I don’t see a problem at all with what twitter did. They didn’t alter, delete or make Trump’s tweets harder to find. They appended a link to information that demonstrated that the claims he made in his tweet were false. I applaud them for doing that. Instead of censoring him as they so readily do with normal twitter accounts they countered his bullshit with accurate information. They didn’t even force it on people. To see it you had to click on the link.

      If I made policy for twitter Trump’s account would have been banned long ago. Twitter doesn’t owe Trump anything. He can start his own messaging app if he wants to.

      1. Thanks for that first paragraph. You saved me a lot of typing.

        But I agree with a view Ken Kukec mentioned (without endorsing): social media should be treated as public utilities that would be legally prohibited from censoring content on the basis of its viewpoint. They should however feel free to inject their own viewpoint into the debate.

        1. That sounds reasonable but does there still need to be censorship on the basis of things like advocating crime or causing harm, the social media equivalent of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater?

          1. Yes, of course, under any proposal, restrictions permitted by the First Amendment (fighting words, incitements to imminent violence, etc.) would still be authorized. The debate is over whether social media platforms should be treated as “public fora” for First Amendment purposes.

            1. My question was somewhat rhetorical. 😉 I am worried that judging the online equivalent of yelling “fire” would be fraught with controversy. Calling for someone’s murder is easy but does Trump’s “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” cross the line? Of course, Twitter didn’t censor it but just protected our sensitive eyes from it.

              1. If Twitter were to be treated as a public forum, Trump’s words constitute protected speech under the doctrine set out by SCOTUS in Brandenburg v. Ohio.

                So long as Twitter continues to be considered a private entity for legal purposes, it’s free set rules of use of its own choosing.

    5. I think it is way too early to make the slippery slope argument. Twitter has been very restrained so far. IMHO, this is a battle that social media knew they were going to have to fight at some point. There is no simple answer. Obviously, we don’t favor censorship but we also don’t favor reading so many lies that it is hard to tell what’s true. That said, I don’t know how Twitter is going to draw the line. But someone had to draw it just to start the discussion. Now society needs to decide where the line belongs for the long term.

  5. In all my years of watching the news, I’ve never seen a news crew arrested by the cops …

    Closest I can recall is when Dan Rather was roughed up by Mayor Daley’s security people on the floor of the 1968 Democratic National Convention:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wItUjFU1i4M

    Potentially even much worse was the killing of Chicano journalist Rubén Salazar (many think intentionally) during a 1970 Vietnam War protest by a tear-gas canister to the head fired by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies. This incident was written about at length by Hunter Thompson in his piece “Strange Rumblings in Aztlan.”

    1. He said they’re ‘on his side’, along with the army. Still can’t understand why that wasn’t front-page news for, oh, a couple of years at least.

      1. Nothing Trump says stays in the news cycle for long since he blows more hot air than the Santa Ana winds.

  6. I wish you well over there. It is boiling hot where I am, so maybe I’m just projecting how I’m feeling, but this summer feels like a an absolute powder keg.

    Everyone is already on edge, people are cooped up, their news and social media bubbles are prodding and poking them into tribal rage, the president of America is doing the same…the atmosphere is febrile. It’s scary. I have a bad feeling about the next few months. Things seem set to explode and you have white supremacist accelerationists actively trying to light the blue touchpaper.

    In normal times you would look to the government to try and tamp things the fuck down rather than metaphorically whisper ‘they’re coming for your women, and you know who I mean’ in the ears of every white male conservative.

  7. Sadly this is another occasion where ML King’s words ring true:

    “I’m absolutely convinced that a riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt. And I feel that we must always work with an effective, powerful weapon and method that brings about tangible results. But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”

  8. One remarkable thing about the arrest is that the police put out a statement saying they were released after determining they were reporters but they’re on video showing their press credentials to no avail.

    Cops think the public is stupid.

  9. I have difficulty to grasp this. WTF this police officer was thinking he was doing while murdering a suspect in front of cameras? Why were these officers fired instead of indicted for murder?
    And what did the state police think to achieve by arresting a bona fide TV crew? Don’t they have some ‘rules of engagement’? Or what? I think the police commissioner of Minnesota should be axed stante pede, and a profound overhaul of the police’s function, vision and rules of engagement is urgently called for.

  10. The killing of George Floyd was murder. At least they arrested the cop, but given history he has a fair chance of not being convicted. There are a fair number of racist yahoo tRump supporters in MN and it only takes one on the jury….

  11. I feel like the purpose of Tweets like that is that the Left then wants to be in the starkest opposition possible, so literally the same day as he Tweets it, you have people on the Left writing op-eds essentially saying they are Pro-riot. Then it’s election time, everyone is rattled as all hell from a year of uncertainty and supply chain breakdowns and hoping for a shred of stability and return to normalcy, and the Right can say “Well remember, democrats are pro-riot and everything.”

  12. Clearly he was arrested because he was black. If he was a white Fox reporter he would have been told where to reposition himself and allow to continue with his duties.

    Amirite?

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