As tensions continue to mount in Ferguson, police officers were captured on video threatening to shoot one journalist and mace another. Other reporters allege they were arrested while covering the protests.
Shortly before midnight Sunday, a police officer was recorded on video giving a reporter a verbal dressing down for flashing a light from a video camera into the officer’s face.
“Get down, get the f*** out of here and get that light off, or you’re getting shot with this,” the officer could be heard yelling at Mustafa Hussein, a reporter from KARG Argus Radio.
When Hussein demands to know the name of the threatening officer, he is told by another officer, who only identifies himself as “Captain Todd,” that the reporters should keep their camera lights away from the police. The identity of the police officer who allegedly aimed a gun at Hussein is never revealed.
Police in Ferguson appear to be very much on edge following over a week of thousands of people coming out onto the streets demanding answers over the death of black teenager Michael Brown, who was reportedly shot at least six times by white officer Darren Wilson on August 9.
In another incident on Sunday night, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes was delivering a live report when a police officer is heard yelling: “Media do not pass us, you’re getting maced next time you pass us.”
Meanwhile, at least two journalists were also arrested before being quickly released Sunday night.
Neil Munshi, a reporter for the Financial Times, wrote on Twitter that he was told to leave a parking lot being used as a staging area. As he was moving to leave, he was handcuffed and briefly detained.
Earlier, Wesley Lowery, of the Washington Post, and Ryan Reilly, of the Huffington Post, told AP they were working from a fast-food outlet when police entered the premises, demanding they leave. As Reilly attempted to photograph the incident, the police demanded his ID, and he declined the request, as is every individual’s legal right. The officers detained him, the Huffington Post said in a statement,“for not packing up fast enough.”
The Huffington Post noted that, according to Reilly, who reported from the notorious Guantanamo Bay military prison, “police resembled soldiers more than officers,” and treated those inside the restaurant as“enemy combatants.”
The Huffington Post condemned “the false arrest and the militant aggression towards the journalists,”saying that police militarization has become “among the most consequential and unnoticed development of our time, and is beginning to affect press freedom.”