‘Holy Sh*t!’: Ferguson Police Fire Tear Gas, Bean Bags at News Crews, Tell Them ‘We Don’t Want You Here’
While the riots in Ferguson have gotten a ton of coverage, the more alarming aspect of the conflict may be the tactics of the police force which have highlighted the militarization of every police department in the country.
On Wednesday, police weren’t just firing tear gas canisters and bean bags at protesters, they took aim at the press as well.
According to KSDK, Al Jazeera America and KSDK reporters were setting up to shoot a news segment on the riots when police shot a tear gas canister at them.
The news crew repeatedly shouting “We’re the press!”
As the KSDK reporters turned their attention to the Al Jazeera reporters that had just been gassed nearby, police approached their crew with “guns drawn” and told them “we don’t want you here – somebody’s going to get hurt. We don’t want to see you guys get hurt.”
In another video, a thud can be heard as heavily armed police approach the crew and the cameraman says it was the sound of a police bean bag hitting the camera.
Al Jazeera America has released a statement detailing the events, saying, “Last night at 10:30 pm in Ferguson, Mo., 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,” the network said. “Thankfully all three crew members are physically fine.”