The unrest between civilians and the police in Ferguson, Missouri is not going away anytime soon–and neither the National Guard nor Missouri Governor Jay Nixon can do anything to pacify the angry crowds. Now, it looks like the Police are turning their hostility onto journalists and photographers as well.
Following the death of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot by a police officer on August 9 for stealing a pack of cigarettes, what should have been peaceful civilian protests to condemn the act and seek justice have often turned violent with the police firing tear gases and rubber bullets and with snipers at the ready while the demonstrators often erupting into chaos, both sides stuck in a endless cycle of aggression from each other.
It seems the police aren’t happy with the media presence there either. On Monday, August 18, veteran Getty photographer Scott Olson was arrested and detained by police officers. He was arrested for allegedly refusing to relocate himself to the designated press area located opposite the protest zone.
Although he was later released and no charges were filed, Olson claims that he was “arrested for just doing my job.” His arrest came after Ferguson authorities signed a court declaration that “acknowledge and agree that the media and the members of the public have a right to record public events without abridgment” unless they pose a threat or prevent police officers from doing their job.
He isn’t the only member of the press that’s been arrested during the conflicts. Last week, two journalists – Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan J Reilly of the Huffington Post – were also arrested by officers for allegedly “videotaping them,” prompting criticisms from both publications, condemning the acts as “military aggression” and an “assault on the freedom of the press”.
Via The Guardian