St. Louis County Police have once again arrested a journalist trying to do his job, violating a court order that was issued on Friday in an attempt to stop such action being taken.
The reporter, Trey Yingst, a freelance journalist, was arrested for obstructing traffic at around 11.40pm on Saturday night, according to a police report.
The LA Times has the details:
“The group of subjects were gathered on the street and sidewalks at that intersection. The on-scene commander engaged the crowd and instructed them that they were impeding the flow of traffic and would be subject to arrest if they did not exit the roadway,” the police summary says. “The crowd ignored the commander’s verbal commands to exit the roadway and continued to impede the flow of traffic.”
A tweet by Saint Louis County police also stated that a reporter from D.C., had been arrested for failure to disperse because he “was asked to leave street by the commander and refused.”
— St. Louis County PD (@stlcountypd) November 23, 2014
However, multiple witnesses immediately came forward, disputing the claim with photos and videos showing that Yingst was merely taking photos from the pavement.
— deray mckesson (@deray) November 23, 2014
Following his release from jail, Yingst tweeted that he had been “arrested for exercising my 1st amendment rights on a public sidewalk.”
Just released from Clayton County jail after being arrested for exercising my 1st amendment rights on a public sidewalk. @news_2_share
— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) November 23, 2014
Police in Ferguson have been criticised for using tactics to constantly move protesters and journalists, not allowing them to stay in one place for any significant length of time. Last month, a District Judge ruled that forcing “peaceful demonstrators and others to walk, rather than stand still, violates the Constitution.”
Several journalists have been threatened, attacked, and arrested by police, merely for covering the events in Ferguson.
A spokesman for the ACLU in Missouri issued a statement that notes “We are deeply troubled that the 1st Amendment rights of the media are still being violated in spite of the recent court order we secured against such action by the County of St. Louis.”
“We will continue to monitor the situation and if necessary swiftly pursue aggressive action to ensure that unlawful interference with the press comes to an end.” executive director Jeffrey Mittman added.
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.