Last night, police in Ferguson, Missouri, attempted to disperse several hundred protesters with tear gas, stun grenades, and smoke bombs. It was the fourth night of demonstrations in response to the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, at the hands of a Ferguson police officer.
News organisations have had a notoriously difficult time covering the demonstrations in recent days as the FAA has enacted a no-fly zone over the area, preventing news helicopters from covering the scene, and police have often turned away and arrested journalists.
Last night, local news channel KSDK caught footage and photos of a SWAT team firing tear gas at an Al Jazeera America TV crew that was covering the events behind the police barricade. The SWAT team then moved to dismantle and carry off their camera equipment.
Cassidy Moody, a KSDK news producer, was the first to tweet out photos of the event:
Another Twitter user retweeted the same photos with a more pointed caption:
Police have not yet released a statement about the event. Al Jazeera has. Here it is in full:
Last night at 10:30 pm CD in Ferguson, Missouri, an Al Jazeera America news crew was reporting behind police barricades. They were easily identifiable as a working television crew. As they were setting up their camera for a live report, tear gas canisters landed in their proximity and police fired rubber bullets in their direction. POlice continued to shoot after crew members clearly and repeatedly shouted “Press.”
Al Jazeera America is stunned by this egregious assault on freedom of the press that was clearly intended to have a chilling effect on our ability to cover this important story. Thankfully, all three crew members are physically fine.
We believe that this situation must be investigated along with those involving our colleagues at other media outlets.
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