This morning, authorities announced that Derek Chauvin, who was the Minneapolis police officer whose knee on George Floyd resulted in his death, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder.
Last night, protests continued in Minneapolis by people demanding that justice be done and some of those protests turned violent with buildings being set on fire.. As is often the case, the police in the US make bad situations worse by using excessive force against people who are protesting or just covering the protests even when it is clear that they could have de-escalated the situation. Last night a black CNN reporter and his producer and camera operator were arrested while covering the ongoing protests even as they politely asked the police where they should move to avoid interfering with whatever the police were doing.
Black reporter Omar Jimenez had just shown a protester being arrested when about half a dozen white police officers from the Minnesota state patrol surrounded him, without giving a reason.
“We can move back to where you like,” he told the officers wearing gas masks and face shields, before explaining live on air that he and his crew were members of the press. “We’re getting out of your way.”
“This is among the state patrol unit that was advancing up the street, seeing and scattering the protesters at that point for people to clear the area. And so we walked away,” Jimenez said before being told he was under arrest and handcuffed by two officers. “Why am I under arrest, sir?”
In contrast, another of CNN’s correspondents, Josh Campbell, who is white, was reporting about a block away from Jimenez. He said police were “polite” when they approached him to ask him which outlet he was with, and they told him: “OK, you’re good.”
Speaking on CNN, attorney Bakari Sellers said he had been scared for Jimenez. “We have a white reporter on the ground, and we have a brown reporter on the ground. They are a block apart. The brown reporter is arrested, and the white reporter is telling us what is happening.”
Trump will be holding a press conference later today. While the stated topic is China, he will undoubtedly be asked questions about the Floyd murder. In fact, I think that is what he really wants the conference to be about because he thinks racial conflict helps build white support for him. He will undoubtedly use this to rile up his white nationalist supporters by making a half-hearted statement regretting the death of George Floyd and then condemning the protestors and praising the police for their actions. He will also attack Barack Obama who issued a statement today that what happened to Floyd should not be ‘normal’ in America in 2020.
Trump has already made things worse by attacking what he called the “Radical Left Mayor” of Minneapolis Jacob Frey and threatening to send in the National Guard, calling the protestors “thugs” and tweeting that looters would be shot. He also hates CNN and is probably angry that the white reporters on the scene were also not arrested.