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article imagePolice in Ferguson target media, human rights observers

By Greta McClain     Aug 19, 2014 in World
Ferguson - As the violence in Ferguson, MO continues, police are reportedly targeting and detaining members of the media according to several news reports, as well as ordering observers with Amnesty International out of the area.
Yesterday the Washington Post reported that an Argus Radio reporter was threatened by police when the reporter allegedly blocked police officers path while attempting to film the protests in Ferguson, MO. In a video of the incident, one police officer can be heard saying:
"Get the f--k out of here and keep that light off or you're getting shelled with this. You're in our way!"
According to several members of the media, police are actively targeting reporters in an attempt to prevent the press from reporting events in Ferguson. Reporters gathered in a nearby McDonald's parking lot was told to leave at approximately 8 p.m central time.
Tim Pool, a reporter for Vice, captured a video of police allegedly ripping the press badge of his vest and saying "this doesn't mean shit." The incident was reportedly due to Pool not having his press credentials with him. According to Pool, he lost the credentials when he was taking cover and trying to avoid being struck by rubber bullets being fired by police.
Earlier in the day, Scott Olson, a photographer for Getty Images, was arrested after he was reportedly told he was "not getting out of the way fast enough."
In a video posted on Instagram, Olson says he was arrested because police had stated "media is required to be in a certain area."
Pancho Bernasconi, vice president of news for Getty Images, addressed Olson's arrest in a statement, saying:
"Getty Images staff photographer Scott Olson was arrested this afternoon in Ferguson, Missouri, while on assignment documenting the events there. We at Getty Images stand firmly behind our colleague Scott Olson and the right to report from Ferguson. Getty Images is working to support his release as soon as possible. We strongly object to his arrest and are committed to ensuring he is able to resume his important work of capturing some of the most iconic images of this news story."
Shortly before midnight local time, police officials in Ferguson, MO began ordering members of the media to move to the police command post due to gun shots in the area.
At 11:45 p.m. police ordered media members to remain in a taped off area, saying:
Police in Ferguson advance on the crowd while ordering the media to remain in a designated area.
Police in Ferguson advance on the crowd while ordering the media to remain in a designated area.
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"You need to disperse immediately. If you are credentialed media, move to your designated area. Do it now."
A few moments later, KMBC 9 reporter, Eli Rosenberg, posted a photo on Twitter showing a line of police officers with guns pointed at the crowd while continuing to tell reporters to stay in the designated media area. A video also captured the police advancing on protesters, handguns, rifles and shotguns pointed at the crowd.
At approximately 12:45 a.m. central time, police again ordered members of the media out of the area. Huffington Post reporter, Ryan Reilly, posted photos on Twitter showing officers advising the media to leave the area.
Police order members of the media to leave the area where protests are taking place in Ferguson  MO.
Police order members of the media to leave the area where protests are taking place in Ferguson, MO.
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David Carson, a reporter with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has been documenting the arrest of numerous members of the media via Twitter. At 1:23 a.m. central time, Carson posted:
"#Ferguson journalist work for and Bild German newspaper out if Berlin "detained" is official term being used."
At 1:40 a.m. central time, Carson posts that the detained journalists were being taken to the St. Louis County jail in Clayton.
The Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis issued a statement Monday evening which said:
"The Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis strongly condemns the manhandling and disrespect shown to our colleagues by authorities during the unfolding crisis in Ferguson, MO. We believe these actions should cease, and that those responsible for maintaining order in Ferguson establish and enforce rules to assure the safety of our journalistic colleagues. We further believe journalists should be able to freely cover these important events without undue restrictions."
Members of the human rights watch group Amnesty International were also ordered to leave the area because they were not "credentialed media."
Observers from Amnesty International are order to leave the area by police in Ferguson  MO.
Observers from Amnesty International are order to leave the area by police in Ferguson, MO.
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According to the Amnesty International USA website, the organization a sent a 13-person human rights delegation to monitor police activity, meet with officials and provide training to local activists on methods of non-violent protest. Jasmine Heiss, a member of the 13-person team, accused police of restricting their access to the protest area. Steven W. Hawkins, executive director Amnesty International USA, issued a statement saying:
“The US cannot continue to allow those obligated and duty-bound to protect to become those who their community fears most."
You can view live footage of Ferguson at Vice News.
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