The CNN reporter who was handcuffed on live TV Friday morning while covering the unrest in Minneapolis is a Chicago-based correspondent who graduated from Northwestern University.
Omar Jimenez also played for the Northwestern Wildcats basketball team as a walk-on guard who joined the team a week before the start of the 2011-12 season.
On Friday, the head of the journalism school that prepared Jimenez for a career covering stories across the United States, as well as in Europe and Mexico, sang his praises.
“To his credit, Omar, a consummate professional, true to his Medill [School of Journalism] training, remained calm and respectful as his job and First-Amendment rights were impinged upon,” Charles Whitaker, Medill’s dean and a professor, said in a statement. “I salute him for his bravery and composure. And while Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has apologized for this egregious offense, I remain appalled that it happened.”
Jimenez and his crew were arrested Friday morning while reporting live and on the air about the protests that erupted following the death of George Floyd.
Floyd, an African American, died on Memorial Day as a white police officer knelt on his neck shortly after being taken into custody on suspicion of passing a bad check.
The journalists were among four people arrested as troopers were “clearing the streets and restoring order” following the protests, the Minnesota State Patrol said on Twitter.
The state patrol said the CNN journalists “were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.”
“This is a very public apology to that team,” Walz said at a news conference hours after Jimenez and his colleagues were taken into custody.
But Whitaker said in his statement, “I could not help but wonder whether his brown skin marked him for this indignity, and I thought of my own adult sons and the threat they face in a society that still too often demonizes African-American men.”
Jimenez graduated from Northwestern in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.