According to recordings obtained by the Associated Press, a no-fly zone imposed by Ferguson police and federal authorities in August was meant to prohibit media helicopters. The ban “raise[s] serious questions about whether police were trying to suppress aerial images of the demonstrations and the police response by violating the constitutional rights of journalists with tacit assistance by federal officials.”
At the time police said the twelve-day thirty-seven square mile flight ban was needed “to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities.” St. Louis police had claimed shots fired at a police helicopter had prompting the ban, but were unable to produce an incident report or a damaged helicopter to corroborate the story to the AP.
Behind the scenes local officials acknowledged that the ban only applied to media vehicles, and in fact worked with FAA officials to allow commercial flights and police helicopters through the zone. “They finally admitted it really was to keep the media out,” one FAA staffer told the AP.
In addition to protesters local and county police clashed multiple times with members of the media during demonstrations following the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
[h/t Associated Press]
[Image via screengrab]
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