Minnesota governor calls for calm following unrest, says he expects ‘swift’ justice for officers


(CNN) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Friday called for calm following protests over the death of George Floyd, saying he expects “swift” justice for the officers involved and taking responsibility for the arrest of a CNN crew.

Protesters nationwide have demanded justice for Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died this week after a white police officer used his knee to pin him down in an incident captured on video. Fires raged overnight in Minneapolis as crowds shattered windows and charged over a fence to get access to the 3rd Police Precinct.

“It is my expectation that justice for the officers involved in this will be swift, that it will come in a timely manner, that it will be fair,” Walz, a Democrat, said at a press conference in St. Paul.

Walz said that it’s on him as governor to “establish order in our streets, to establish and rebuild trust in our communities, to lift those voices up to be heard, not pleading for their lives but demanding the changes necessary so no one else is put into that position.”

He added, “Generations of pain is manifesting itself in front of the world — and the world is watching.”

Hours earlier, CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez, producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez were arrested by state police while giving a live television report on the protests. The team clearly identified themselves to officers. The crew has since been released.

Walz said there was “absolutely no reason something like this should happen,” adding that he takes “full responsibility” for the incident.

“In a situation like this, even if you’re clearing an area, we have got to ensure that there is a safe spot for journalism to tell the story. The issue here is trust,” Walz said.

Walz said the mission to clear Minneapolis streets of protesters was carried under his direction, but that the arrest of journalists “is unacceptable” and that he would “make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“We will continue to thrive to make sure that accessibility is maintained, that not only that, the protection and security and safety of the journalist covering this is a top priority, not because it’s a nice thing to do, because it is a key component of how we fix this,” Walz said.

Click here for continuing coverage on the George Floyd protests.

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