Police drop charges against 2 journalists arrested in Ferguson

August 3, 2015
Category: Uncategorized

American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri

On Monday, the ACLU of Missouri announced that journalists Trey Yingst and Bilgin Şaşmaz will not face charges by St. Louis County Police. Both were arrested while reporting from Ferguson, Missouri. According to the announcement, the county will help both journalists get the arrests removed from their records.

From the ACLU:

On the evening of Aug. 19, Şaşmaz had been photographing Ray Albers, a former St. Ann police office, who was pointing his weapon at protesters and yelling that he was going to kill them. A St. Louis County Police officer threw Şaşmaz violently to the pavement, handcuffed and arrested him, even though Şaşmaz repeatedly identified himself as a member of the media. Şaşmaz, of Middle Eastern descent, was working alongside many Caucasian reporters and photographers, who were not arrested but documented the interaction. The ACLU of Missouri filed a civil rights lawsuit last November.

Yingst was arrested on Nov. 22 while standing on a sidewalk and recording police efforts to clear the street. His arrest occurred one day after the ACLU of Missouri had, in another case, secured consent judgments against the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the County of St. Louis and the City of Ferguson requiring that the police respect the First Amendment rights of journalists.

In July, Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone reported that St. Louis County could still press charges against The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery and Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly, who were also arrested in Ferguson last August.

On Monday, Calderone reported that Yingst will get $8,500 from the lawsuit.

Yingst said his goal in pursuing the suit wasn’t to take money out of the community. So after paying for lawyers and travel expenses, Yingst said, he plans to put what’s left of the $8,500 into a scholarship fund for Ferguson-area high school students who plan to study journalism in college.

In July, Daniel Reimold wrote about Yingst for Poynter and how he manages to work while attending school.

Last August, we included some tips if you find yourself getting arrested.