Cops in Ferguson Detain Journalists, Threaten to Shoot Cameraman, Mace Reporter
As armed protesters facing off with heavily militarized security forces continue to clash in nightly violence in Ferguson, journalists on the scene are increasingly coming under threat of arrest or injury from police officers.
Danny Wicentowski A reporter for KARG Argus Radio films from on top of a car in Ferguson.
With tens of thousands of people watching via live stream, a police officer threatened to shoot a reporter filming police efforts to quell an increasingly violent protest in Ferguson Sunday night.
Off camera, the officer barks at the KARG Argus Radio cameraman: "Get that light off. Get the fuck out of here, or you're getting shot with this," referring, apparently, to the firearm he's carrying.
Here's the video: The police captain liaising between police and the media steps in to explain that officers need camera lights turned off behind the front line for their own protection, but he declines to give the name of the officer who threatened the radio station reporter.
A cop just threatened to shoot the cameraman at the Argus Radio feed.— Jesse Walker (@notjessewalker) August 18, 2014
KARG Argus Radio, run by a handful of volunteers, started live streaming video for the first time this week, offering hundreds of thousands of people front-line access to the unrest and chaos that's gripped Ferguson since officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown here last Saturday.
To call this a volatile situation is an understatement. Cops yelling at media crews w/ lights on, saying he would shoot. #Ferguson— Akilah Johnson (@akjohnson1922) August 18, 2014
Three more reporters also tweeted they were arrested by police in Ferguson Sunday night. Sports Illustrated's Robert Klemko, the Telegraph's Rob Crilly and the Financial Times' Neil Munshi were detained briefly and then let go.
Capt Johnson is now arresting us.— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) August 18, 2014
Captain Johnson arrested us for 2 minutes. We pleaded that we had followed every instruction. He let us go.— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) August 18, 2014
They had to cut my cuffs off with a knife. Here's Capt Johnson assisting. pic.twitter.com/IH7GHV5h74— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) August 18, 2014
Police pointed weapon and me and Capt Johnson has threatened me with arrest. He has called squad car. V jumpy— Rob Crilly (@robcrilly) August 18, 2014
I have been arrested and am being walked away from the area— Rob Crilly (@robcrilly) August 18, 2014
Just cuffed and searched as we said we were leaving as he asked. Johnson was following us saying bring the ... https://t.co/K106v4t5Qu— neiL Munshi (@neiLmunshi) August 18, 2014
Klemko explains what went down:
About 25 minutes after the gas attack, with the smoke cleared and the area secure, we attempted to go back down the street to report.— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) August 18, 2014
Cops stopped us. We explained ourselves. They said to walk away. We said why. They said command center was attacked. I said no it wasn't.— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) August 18, 2014
Capt Johnson said walk away or be arrested. I started walking away. They followed and arrested us.— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) August 18, 2014
Klemko kept a little something to remember it by:
When they cut cuffs off minutes later, I held onto it. Johnson tried to take it. I said "it's a ferguson souvenir." pic.twitter.com/89t6G49FId— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) August 18, 2014
Chris Hayes was reporting live on MSNBC when a police officer threatened to mace him, yelling, "Media do not pass us, you're getting maced next time you pass us."
Why did police threaten Hayes? He answers on air: "Because they're generally hopped up and angry and pissed off and aren't excited there's about fifteen reporters watching what they're doing."
Riot cop to me just a few minutes ago: "Get back! Or next time you're gonna be the one maced."— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) August 18, 2014
If you walk about 100 feet from OK'ed press area you find yourself lit up by a spotlight and a squad of police on hair trigger.— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) August 18, 2014
St. Louis Public Radio reporter Stephanie Lecci offered this harrowing account from the front lines:
Oh my God: pic.twitter.com/T5wPNXEWtb— Jason Rosenbaum (@jrosenbaum) August 18, 2014
Two journalists from the Washington Post and Huffington Post were arrested last week when they didn't leave a McDonald's being cleared by police quickly enough.