Getty Images photojournalist Scott Olson was arrested Monday for refusing to stay in a designated "media pen" that the police set up even though the rest of the area was open to the public. He was later released and discussed his arrest with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell:
Olson:....he told me I had to be in the media pen across the street and I asked him if the area was open to the public and I told him if it was open to the public then it should be open to the press. He said, "if you're with the media you have to be across the street." I told him I was going to roll video because I think it was a violation of the first amendment and I wanted to document it and as soon as I said that, he ordered me arrested. I was cuffed, put in a van and taken away.
Mitchell: And were you charged with anything?
Olson: I believe I was charged with 'failure to obey.' I'm not sure completely what that means, but that was the charges according to the attorney.
This is an outrage of course. Why are the heavily armed police so determined to control the media?
In a Saturday interview with NPR's "All Things Considered," Olson detailed his experiences covering the protests over the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed African American teenager killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9. In the interview, Olson, a former Marine, said he was shocked by how heavily armed Ferguson's police squads were.
"Most of these protesters are peaceful," he said. "If you have several people there trying to disrupt the protest, you're not going to shoot at them with a rifle. Not in a crowd like that."