An Al Jazeera America crew was hit with tear gas Wednesday night while covering the ongoing protests against police in Ferguson, Mo.
Photojournalists with St. Louis TV station KSDK, one of whom said his own camera equipment was hit by a “bean bag round” from police, recorded video of the incident. The video shows tear gas billowing from a canister in front of Al Jazeera’s three-man crew and camera and lighting equipment.
The canister had hit the crew’s van, the KSDK journalists said. They also said they witnessed the Al Jazeera crew yelling “We’re the press” before running away. Afterward, the video shows police taking down the Al Jazeera crew’s lights and pointing their camera to the ground.
Al Jazeera America called for the incident to be investigated in a statement.
“Last night at 10:30pm CD in Ferguson, Missouri, an Al Jazeera America news crew was reporting behind police barricades. They were easily identifiable as a working television crew,” spokeswoman Jocelyn Austin said. “As they were setting up their camera for a live report, tear gas canisters landed in their proximity and police fired rubber bullets in their direction. Police continued to shoot after crew members clearly and repeatedly shouted ”Press.'”
“Al Jazeera America is stunned by this egregious assault on freedom of the press that was clearly intended to have a chilling effect on our ability to cover this important story,” she added. “Thankfully all three crew members are physically fine.”
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