This article by Runa A. Sandvik was originally published by Freedom of the Press Foundation.
On Aug. 13, police in Ferguson, Missouri, assaulted and arrested two journalists for allegedly failing to exit a McDonald’s quickly enough while on a break from covering the protests. Since then, police actions against journalists in Ferguson have escalated in severity and frequency. Many have been tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets, and at least nine more have been arrested.
It should go without saying that these arrests are a gross violation of the reporters’ 1st Amendment rights, and attempts to prevent journalists from lawfully doing their job on the streets of Ferguson are downright illegal. Freedom of the Press Foundation documented each journalist arrest and is filing public records requests for the arrest records of the journalists who have been assaulted, detained and arrested in Ferguson. All requests are publicly available on MuckRock.
- Lukas Hermsmeier of Bild: source | records request.
- Ryan Devereaux of The Intercept: source | records request.
- Ansgar Graw of Die Welt: source | records request.
- Frank Hermann of Der Standard: source | records request.
- Scott Olson of Getty Images: source | records request.
- Kerry Picket of Breitbart News: source | records request.
- Rob Crilly of The Telegraph: source | records request.
- Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated: source | records request.
- Neil Munshi of the Financial Times: source | records request.
- Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post: source | records request (by J. K. Trotter).
- Ryan J. Reilly of The Huffington Post: source | records request (by J. K. Trotter).
Freedom of the Press Foundation insists that the St. Louis County Police Department, Ferguson Police Department and Missouri Highway Patrol cease and desist from violating the constitutional rights of reporters covering the protests and respect the court document they all signed agreeing that the media and members of the public have a right to record public events without abridgement. This document is not necessary, as the 1st Amendment provides that right to all members of the media and public; but it’s an indication of how the police have decided to ignore the law.
Freedom of the Press Foundation is monitoring the situation and will be filing requests and updating our blog post for as long as necessary.
–Runa A. Sandvik is a privacy and security researcher, working at the intersection of technology, law and policy. She is a Forbes contributor, a technical adviser to the TrueCrypt Audit project and a member of the review board for Black Hat Europe. Prior to joining the Freedom of the Press Foundation as a full-time technologist in June 2014, she worked with The Tor Project for four years.