Documenting the arrests of journalists in Ferguson

Getty Images photographer Scott Olson (center) is arrested by a highway patrol officer during a protest for the shooting death of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri August 18, 2014. He was arrested because police required media to be within certain areas, media quoted another journalist as saying. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon lifted the curfew for the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on Monday and began deploying National Guard troops to help quell days of rioting and looting spurred by the fatal shooting of the black unarmed teenager by a white policeman.    REUTERS/Joshua Lott.


Getty Images photographer Scott Olson (center) is arrested by a highway patrol officer during a protest for the shooting death of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri August 18, 2014. Authorities say he was arrested because police required media to be within certain areas. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon lifted the curfew for the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on Monday and began deploying National Guard troops to oversee protests sparked by the fatal shooting of the black unarmed teenager by a white policeman. REUTERS/Joshua Lott.

On Aug. 13, 2014, police in Ferguson, Missouri, assaulted and arrested two journalists for allegedly failing to exit a McDonald's quickly enough while on a break from covering the protests. Since then, police actions against journalists in Ferguson have escalated in severity and frequency. Many have been tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets and at least nine more have been arrested.

It should go without saying that these arrests are a gross violation of the reporters' First Amendment rights, and attempts to prevent journalists from lawfully doing their job on the streets of Ferguson are downright illegal. We will be documenting each journalist arrest below and are filing public records requests for the arrest records of the journalists who have been assaulted, detained, and arrested in Ferguson. All requests are publicly available on MuckRock.

August 19, 2014

August 18, 2014

August 17, 2014

August 13, 2014

We insist that the St. Louis County Police Department, Ferguson Police Department, and Missouri Highway Patrol cease and desist from violating the Constiutional rights of reporters covering the protests, and respect the court document they all signed agreeing that the media and members of the public have a right to record public events without abridgement. This document is not necessary, as the First Amendment provides that right to all members of the media and public, but it's an indication of how the police have decided to ignore the law.

Freedom of the Press Foundation is monitoring the situation and will be filing requests and updating this blog post for as long as necessary.

[Editor's note: Guest contributor Runa A. Sandvik is a privacy and security researcher, working at the intersection of technology, law and policy. She is a Forbes contributor, a technical advisor to the TrueCrypt Audit project, and a member of the review board for Black Hat Europe. Prior to joining the Freedom of the Press Foundation as a full-time technologist in June 2014, she worked with The Tor Project for four years.]

Notable Replies

  1. Sue them. Sue the whole town. Sue, sue, sue. From every angle. Criminal, civil, federal, state. Sue, sue, sue. Make them hurt. And then when the town's municipal buildings are empty, burn it all down and start over with Democracy.

  2. I haven't looked at a Sports Illustrated since my brother was in highschool, but it would hardly surprise me to find out they do real journalism.

    But, seriously, isn't the person who is writing this worried about being arrested by the Ferguson cops?

  3. Perhaps the PD can be sued for damages to the point where they are forced to sell their military arsenal to pay for court costs.

  4. People should be more careful about what damages they're suing for. It should be perfectly reasonable to sue for the dissolution of an entity, reform of an entity, or at least the firing of key individuals in addition to whatever monetary damages are commensurate to the case. Not a lawyer, just an idealist.

Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

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