May 11, 2016

Correction: An earlier headline said St. Louis City and county settled. The settlement is with St. Louis County. We apologize for our error.

St. Louis County’s police department has settled a lawsuit from four journalists who were arrested in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, according to a press release from the law firm Squire Patton Boggs.

Ryan Devereaux, Lukas Hermsmeier, Ansgar Graw and Frank Hermann sued St. Louis City and county for a number of violations, including those against the First and Fourth Amendment. From a joint statement:

…The County has agreed to adopt policy changes that will address the issues raised by this lawsuit. The parties believe that the resolution reached will ensure that the County’s policing activities are consistent with the County’s expressed commitment to keeping the public informed, and does not impede on the police department’s responsibility to protect the community.

Details of the settlement are confidential, Robert Patrick reported for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Public bodies can enter into confidential settlements in Missouri, but that confidentiality does not trump the state’s open record laws. St. Louis County police did not immediately respond to a request for the settlement, however. A spokesman referred questions to lawyers.

Devereaux, a reporter with The Intercept, was arrested in August 2014 along with Hermann, who writes for German newspapers, Graw, senior political correspondent for Die Welt, and Hermsmeier, a freelance journalist. Other journalists arrested while covering Ferguson, including The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery and The Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly, still face charges.

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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