Latino-African-American journalist Omar Fernando Jimenez has been working for CNN since August 2017. He and his crew were arrested by the police while he was giving a live television report in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States in the morning of May 29, 2020.
It was the third day of protests against the death of George Floyd involving former cops Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane and a police precinct had been set ablaze in Minneapolis. For the live broadcast of the CNN show “New Day,” Jimenez was reporting from a street near that precinct along with white producer Bill Kirkos and Hispanic photojournalist Leonel Mendez.
While reporting, Jimenez was holding his CNN badge. He identified himself as a reporter when he was surrounded by six white officers from the Minnesota State Patrol wearing gas masks and face shields.
One of the cops told Jimenez was under arrest without giving an explanation. The camera continued recording the encounter while the reporter and the other members of his crew were being handcuffed.
Jimenez was a national correspondent for CNN Newsource in August 2017 and joined the CNN Worldwide team for the same role in August 2019. Here are 13 facts about the Latino-African-American journalist:
- He grew up in Kennesaw, Georgia, USA but he was born on November 27, 1993 in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA to Latino father Omar Jimenez Sr. and African-American mother Jayne Middlebroos.
- He is 6’11 tall.
- When he attended Kennesaw Mountain High School, he worked for the school’s television station KMTV and played varsity basketball for three years.
- From 2011 to 2015, he attended the Medill School of Journalist at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, USA where he earned his degree in broadcast journalism.
- While in Northwestern University, he was a member of the varsity basketball team as a guard and he acted in several plays and rapped under the name OJ Tropicana.
- He is fluent in Spanish and is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
- He worked for NBC News as a Republican National Convention runner in August 2012 and as a news intern for the same network from February 2013 to June 2013.
- In August 2013, he was featured rapping in the “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” segment “Battle of the Instant Rappers.”
- He co-hosted the 2013 and 2014 editions of the world championships for the arcade game “Big Buck Hunter.”
- He was as an international news intern for CNN from June 2013 to September 2013 and an affiliate desk intern for the same company from June 2014 to September 2014.
- His on-air career started when he worked as a general assignment reporter for WGEM TV in Quincy, Illinois from March 2014 to June 2014.
- In May 2014, he received a National Mark of Excellence Award for general TV news reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists and won third place in the National Television Broadcast New Competition by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation both in May 2014 and June 2014.
- From July 2015 to July 2017, he worked as a news reporter for WBAL-TV, an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Baltimore, Maryland, USA.