You're probably wondering just what the hell is going on in Minneapolis. If you're worried about a Target, please see your way out. I'll continue with the rest of you: Four days ago, on Memorial Day, now-former police officer Derek Chauvin choked the life out of George Floyd on a city street. There have been righteously angry protests ever since. During that time, no one with the appropriate authority has bothered to arrest Chauvin. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman is staging a one-man version of Hamlet, as if he doesn't have video footage of a brutal murder.

Meanwhile, CNN reporter Omar Jimenez, who's black, was arrested while reporting live near the third police precinct, which had been set on fire earlier. It was a long day. Jimenez identified himself as a reporter and told the police he and his crew would move wherever they wanted. Instead, Jimenez was cuffed and carried off to jail.

From CNN:

"We can move back to where you like. We are live on the air here. ... Put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way -- wherever you want us (we'll) get out of your way," Jimenez said to police before he was led away.

The police claimed Jimenez and his crew were “detained" because they were told to scram and didn't. Fox News also cried "FAKE NEWS!" about the senseless arrest caught live on video, which we can watch with our eyes.


Police arrest CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and crew on live television www.youtube.com

Jimenez tries to speak calmly and logically to the police, but it's like Vulcans communicating with Klingons. There's a lot lost in translation. Seriously, though, the whole scene looks like a war zone, and the police are behaving as an occupying force, attempting to bring order and democracy to this wasteland because buried deep inside every protester is an American trying to get out.

I'm impressed with how well Jimenez kept his cool with the police, because he's black and probably watches the news as part of his job. There were so many knees in that crowd of cops and Jimenez has just one neck.

CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota noted the the police arrested Jimenez's crew after they'd already complied with their instructions. CNN's Josh Campbell was in the same area but allowed to remain.

"I identified myself ... they said, 'OK, you're permitted to be in the area,'" recounted Campbell, who is white. "I was treated much differently than (Jimenez) was."

It's certainly possible that the difference in how the CNN reporters were treated wasn't racial. Campbell might've just spoken Klingon better.

Joe Biden tweet: "This is not abstract: a black reporter was arrested whiel doing his job this morning, while the white police officer who killed George Floyd remains free. I am glad swift action was taken, but this, to me, says everything."

Minnesota State Police issued a statement about the arrest so absurd you shouldn't believe anything else they might say.

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.

Former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa hilariously knocked that shit down on Twitter:

They identified themselves to you and had on press badges. Also there was an entire crew with pretty sophisticated camera equipment... in the FBI we called that a "clue."

CNN also quickly called bullshit.

This is not accurate -- our CNN crew identified themselves, on live television, immediately as journalists. We thank Minnesota @GovTimWalz for his swift action this morning to aid in the release of our crew.

And you wonder why black people get killed so easily.

Police on the ground in Minneapolis haven't exactly blown us away with their professionalism. You'd think they'd bring their “A" game during police violence protests that the whole world is watching. They probably don't care. They know they've got Big Daddy Trump on their side.

Jimenez spent an hour or so in custody, which is longer than Chauvin has and potentially ever will. CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker had a confab with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz about the First Amendment, and Walz arranged for Jimenez and his crew's release. The governor said the arrests were “unacceptable" and he “deeply apologizes" for the police's actions that probably won't result in any noticeable change in tactics or training.

I'm sure Walz means well, but apologies like this can't help but feel like the white power structure saying, “Sorry, you're not one of the n-words who the police normally rough up with impunity. You're one of the good n-words who's in a singing group."

Slight tangent but related: Jimenez is also a musician. Check out his work. He's had a tough week.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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