News crews from KSDK St. Louis and Al-Jazeera America were attacked with a bean-bag round and tear gas on Wednesday evening while reporting on a school closing in the wake of this weekend’s police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Police in Ferguson, Mo., hit two television news crews Aug. 13 — one with a bean-bag round fired from an air rifle and the other with a tear gas canister. Officers separately arrested two other reporters as they worked from a restaurant in the area.
KSDK, the Gannett-owned NBC affiliate in St. Louis, says a three-member reporting team from the station was reporting last night shortly after 9 p.m. from a location outside a police perimeter in Ferguson, when an officer fired a bean bag from air rifle, striking one of its photojournalist’s camera gear. The crew was in the area reporting on a school closing in the wake of this weekend’s police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, the station reported.
About five to 10 minutes later, a video taken by a second KSDK photojournalist shows police firing what looks like a tear gas canister at a TV news crew from Al-Jazeera America as they were setting up for a remote. After the canister hits the crew’s news van and begins to discharge its contents, the Al-Jazeera crew retreated from its positon by the van, the station says.
With the Al-Jazeera news crew gone, two police officers approached the crew’s equipment, took down its lights and pointed the camera at the ground, the KSDK report says.
During a press conference today at about 1 p.m. ET, President Barack Obama said: “Police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs.”