Documenting The Arrests Of Journalists In Ferguson

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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.

Aug. 19

Aug. 18

Aug. 17

Aug. 13

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.

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is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping support and defend public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government. We accept tax-deductible donations to a variety of journalism organizations that push for transparency and accountability, and we work to preserve and strengthen the rights guaranteed to the press under the First Amendment.Freedom of the Press Foundation is built on the recognition that this kind of transparency journalism - from publishing the Pentagon Papers and exposing Watergate, to uncovering the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program and CIA secret prisons - doesn’t just happen. It requires dogged work by journalists, and often, the courage of whistleblowers and others who work to ensure that the public actually learns what it has a right to know.

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