There must be a media relations handbook that’s passed out to every police department concerning dealing with the media during a riot situation, and somewhere in that book must be a disturbing tip that encourages targeted violence against journalists on the scene.
It’s hard to forget the aggressive police tactics in Ferguson against the media, which involved the firing of tear gas at news crews covering the civil unrest in addition to actual physical destruction of private property by hand. Read the full story on that along with video of the incident here.
Arguably worse tactics were taken by the Baltimore Police Department during the recent riots, when nonlethal munitions including pepper balls and tear gas were fired at journalists documenting the activities ongoing. In watching the video, it appears the cops fired during a period of calm, making it all the more perplexing and utterly clear that this is targeted aggression at the news media.
The video from We Are Change paints a very vivid scene.
It’s very clear that the people being fired upon are holding video cameras with telltale mounted lights indicating they are media, and they are keeping a safe distance from the line of “peace” officers arrayed at the traffic square. There is absolutely no reason for any force to be utilized against journalists simply performing their job and civic duty to report on what is happening in the city.
Clearly the police have a disregard or outright hatred of media coverage that can potentially expose illegal tactics, abuse of power or excessive violence, and have chosen violence as a means to curb the flow of information outward.
First Ferguson and now Baltimore…is this the new normal for police interaction with the media?
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