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U.S. leaders speak on the situation in Ferguson as protesters are tear-gassed and journalists are arrested.
Conditions in Ferguson, Missouri escalated last night as police continued to clash with community members protesting in the wake of Michael Brown’s death.
Police launched tear gas and shot rubber bullets in the streets of Ferguson to force protestors and reporters to clear out. According to USAToday, Alderman Antonio French, along with two reporters Ryan Reilly from Huffington Post and Wesley Lowery from Washington Post, were arrested on Wednesday.
French, who had been live-streaming events in Ferguson from his Twitter account, was taken into police custody for unlawful assembly. Lowery says he and Reilly were working in a McDonald’s when officers came in, and told them to shut down their cameras and leave. Reilly alleges that they were both arrested for “not packing their bags quick enough.”
Today, we’ve heard from Ferguson Mayor James Knowles, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, President Obama and Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson. This morning, Mayor Knowles appeared on MSNBC and rebutted the idea that racial tensions have been simmering in Ferguson for years, saying, “History of racial strife in Ferguson in absolutely false.” Gov. Nixon said that he was “reframing the chain of command in the city,” addressing Ferguson’s heavily militarized police presence from four different police departments. President Obama called for “peace, healing and calm” while noting that “police should not be arresting journalists who are trying to do their jobs.” And chief Jackson lamented, “I understand that what it looks like is not good,” referring to the striking imagery of Ferguson resembling a war zone. The investigation into Mike Brown’s killing is still underway.
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