It is not a great time to be a journalist in America.
The assault on the First Amendment by militarized police in Ferguson, Mo., continues unabated, and the press is not spared. Since the start of protests against the August 9 killing of Michael Brown, journalists in Ferguson have been arrested, fired on, threatened, and assaulted.
After more than a week of heavy-handed police violence — through the use of tactics and weapons better suited for a warzone than an American suburb — freedoms of speech and the press were dealt a major legal blow on Tuesday. A federal court denied a motion from the ACLU of Missouri for an emergency order to prevent police from enforcing a ban on standing in place for more than five seconds. The “keep-moving mandate” (also known as the five-second rule) remains in place, criminalizing constitutionally protected activity and placing a dangerous barrier on the ability of the media to bring us stories from this city under siege. As Tony Rothert, the legal director of the ACLU of Missouri, told MSNBC, “In many ways, the First Amendment has been suspended in Ferguson.”
ST. LOUIS (AP) – The father of a black 18-year-old shot to death by a white police officer in Ferguson pleaded Sunday for a “day of silence” as he lays his son to rest Monday.
The more than two weeks since Michael Brown’s death have been marked by nightly protests, some violent and chaotic, although tensions have eased in recent days.
Brown Sr. told the crowd that he and his son’s mother appreciate the love and support they’ve received from the community. The Rev. Al Sharpton, who will speak at the funeral, echoed his request for peace.
“We don’t want anything tomorrow to happen that might defile the name of Michael Brown,” Sharpton said. “This is not about our rage tomorrow. It’s about the legacy and memory of his son.”
Peace Fest 2014 was already in the works before Officer Darren Wilson shot Brown Aug. 9 in a St. Louis suburb, but it took on new resonance in the aftermath.