Back in August, the U.S. government agreed to a police request restricting 37 miles of airspace surrounding Ferguson for 12 days for the safety of the city during a turbulent time. It has now been revealed that the restriction was not for safety.
In audio tapes obtained by the Associated Press, St. Louis County police can be heard admitting that the no-fly area rule was imposed to keep news helicopters from covering the protests happening in the city.
The tapes contain recorded telephone conversations where the conditions of rule were discussed. One Federal Aviation Administration manager can be heard saying “They finally admitted it really was to keep the media out.”
Keeping the media out of Ferguson violates their constitutional rights.
“Any evidence that a no-fly zone was put in place as a pretext to exclude the media from covering events in Ferguson is extraordinarily troubling and a blatant violation of the press’s First Amendment rights,” said Lee Rowland, an American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney.
The no-fly zone restriction, which began on AUg. 12th, was kept in place until Aug. 22th but a police captain wanted it extended because Mike Brown’s funeral was approaching and Darren Wilson’s identity was going to be revealed to the public, which he through would cause an emotional uproar in Ferguson.
“Last night we shot a lot of tear gas, we had a lot of shots fired into the air again,” he said on the tape. “It did quiet down after midnight, but with that … we don’t know when that’s going to erupt.”