April V. Taylor
The St. Louis suburb of Ferguson erupted in protest following the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a local police officer. As protestors took to the streets, the large majority were peaceful. Many Americans from all over the country were also outraged when they learned of Brown’s death, some because of the specific circumstances surrounding his death and some because Brown was another unarmed black person killed by police. Many Americans, as well as people all over the world, were also shocked by the aggressive response of the militarized police force in Ferguson. As most protestors obeyed laws and kept order, officers fired rubber bullets, tear gas, and flash bang grenades at protestors and journalists.
The police response was so aggressive that global rights organization Amnesty International deployed observers to Ferguson to document and respond to what the organization believes were blatant human rights abuses by police. Freedom of the press functioned much differently in Ferguson as residents protested Brown’s death, the history of racism within the police department, the non-transparent investigation into Brown’s death, the criminalization of Brown by the department and many other points of concern. Journalists covering the protests were ordered by police to stop recording on several different occasions. Some examples of police response to press is that a Washington Post and Huffington Post reporter were arrested for allegedly not leaving a McDonald’s quick enough, and journalists from AlJazeera America and Democracy Now reported having rubber bullets fired at them by officers after identifying themselves as press.
Many Americans were forced to turn to their social media feeds and independent news sources to get live, unfiltered coverage of the historic events unfolding in Ferguson. One of the livestream broadcasts viewers consistently turned to was that of KARG Argus Radio. This video clip was recorded on Sunday August 17th while Argus Radio reporter Mustafa Husseinwas streaming the stations “I am Mike Brown,” feed. Hussein was confronted by officers who cursed at him, threatened to shoot him and refused to provide him with any of their identifying information.