Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz held a press briefing on the ongoing unrest in his state later Friday. Amid an update on how he would deal with the protests as well as the investigation into Floyd's death, Walz took a moment to address the arrest of Jimenez and his crew.
Here's what he said. (It's long but important):
"I also want to address an issue and this one is on me and I will own it. Earlier this morning when this mission was carried out, under my direction to re-secure the third precinct, to do so in a manner which I am proud of how it was executed by this team, no injuries and no loss of life, a reestablishment to put the fires out for those businesses, a CNN reporter, a crew, was arrested by the state patrol. A few minutes after hearing that, I was on a call with CNN president Jeff Zucker who demanded to know what happened. I take full responsibility. There is absolutely no reason something like this should happen. Calls were made immediately. This is a very public apology to that team. It should not happen. And I want to be clear for those of you listening. I think our Minnesota reporters know this. I am a teacher by trade, and I have spent my time as governor highlighting the need to be as transparent as possible and have the press here. I failed you last night in that. And it does not escape me that we are here on the catalyst that lit the spark by what happened with a police detainment of George Floyd, and the idea that a reporter would have been taken while another police action was in play is inexcusable ...
" ... 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. The community that's down there that's terrorized by this, if they see a reporter being arrested, their assumption is something is going to happen that they don't want to be seen. And so that is unacceptable. We will continue to strive to make sure that accessibility is maintained, that not only that, the protection and security and safety of the journalists 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. Sunshine, disinfectant and seeing what's happening has to be done. So, again, I appreciate President Zucker's call, I appreciate his understanding in a situation that he was rightfully incredibly angry, and that falls squarely on me. That apology has been issued. And I think going forward to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Minnesota governor: I take full responsibility for CNN arrests02:43
"This one is on me and I will own it."
"I take full responsibility."
"I have spent my time as governor highlighting the need to be as transparent as possible and have the press here. I failed you last night in that."
Now, Walz didn't tell those cops to arrest Jimenez and his crew. And had he known it was happening, he would have undoubtedly stopped it. But rather than look for a scapegoat, Walz owned the mistake. Because he is the governor of the state and the ultimate buck-stopper. If law enforcement in Minnesota makes a mistake, Walz understands that it, ultimately falls on him.
And so, rather than look to blame and further inflame, Walz sought to take responsibility and work to assure everyone involved that he believes deeply in the freedom of the press and even the necessity of the media providing a neutral lens on what is happening in his state in order to restore trust between people and law enforcement.
Contrast that response by Walz to how President Donald Trump reacts when faced with an obvious mistake made either by him or his administration.
"No, I don't take responsibility at all," Trump responded in mid-March to questions about whether he bore any blame for the slow ramping-up of testing for the coronavirus in the United States.
And on and on and on it goes. Time after time, Trump looks to deflect blame -- onto Democrats, onto the media, even onto some of his top aides, anywhere so long as it doesn't fall on him. It is the opposite of the sort of leadership Walz showed Friday afternoon by owning up to a mistake made by his employees.
Now, that's not to say Walz's reaction to the death of George Floyd has been perfect. Far from it. He clearly didn't fully grasp the amount of anger and outrage in the community, and has struggled to get the ongoing protests under control -- all the while trying to ensure that the investigation into what exactly happened leading to Floyd's death.
What it is to say is that in a moment in which Walz could have very easily deflected blame or thrown the cops who arrested Jimenez and his crew under the bus, he didn't. He stepped up and said, I need to do better.
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