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Photographer with CBS Minnesota released from custody after being struck with rubber bullet and arrested

WCCO photographer arrested
WCCO photographer arrested covering protests 03:02

Tom Aviles, a photographer with CBS Minnesota station WCCO-TV was struck with a rubber bullet and arrested while covering the intensifying protests Saturday night. Police officers forced him to the ground as they arrested him, according to video of the arrest taken by the station.

Aviles was released shortly before 11 p.m. CT, CBS Minnesota said.

An officer yelled for him to "get back" and more officers descended on him as he said "where do I go? I'm from WCCO." As he backed away from the protesters, Aviles said "OK, OK" and called for his producer. Officers then forced him to the ground and handcuffed him as he said "I'm not fighting."

Producer Joan Gilbertson, who was with him, told CBS Minnesota the patrolman said "You've been warned, or the same thing will happen to you. Or you're next."

Gilbertson said she had her hands up and said, "Don't shoot me, don't shoot me."

At a late-night news conference, Minnesota Commissioner of Corrections Paul Schnell called Aviles' arrest "regrettable" and said that because of the nature of the protests and police tactics, "it's difficult" to identify journalists — although Aviles is heard on camera identifying himself. Schnell said they "want to get those people released, because we know and value the importance" of journalists.

CBS Minnesota was covering the fifth night of protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said Saturday he was activating the National Guard in response to the protests, and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has declared a citywide curfew of 8 p.m. 

Floyd died after a white officer kneeled on his neck while he was handcuffed and pleaded for air. Four officers have been fired and one, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Protests have erupted in cities nationwide, with some turning violent.

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