Photojournalist Attacked While Covering Riots and Looting in Missouri

Ferguson Riots

Post-Dispatch photojournalist David Carson has covered a number of intense situations, including the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. But it was just this past weekend, in the 21,000-resident town of Ferguson, Missouri that he faced one of his scariest moments yet.

Carson was covering protests in the town sparked by the death of a young teen named Michael Brown. This past Saturday, Officers opened fire on the 18-year-old, killing him in the streets of Ferguson, and the circumstances surrounding Brown’s death are hotly debated.

Saturday night in Ferguson, however, was relatively peaceful. It wasn’t until he returned on Sunday, after finding out through social media that police had fired tear gas to disperse the crowds, that he found himself in danger.


After capturing a few scary pictures of armed looters from inside of a vandalized convenience store and sending off his first round of shots to the paper, he somehow found himself stuck between protestors and police.

That’s when he heard a protestor shout “He’s taking pictures […] kick his a**.” He ran, but within moments he was on the ground being kicked.

Camera lens shattered but thankfully wearing protective gear, he defended himself as best he could, using his camera as a weapon, and after a few more painful blows, a local pastor Carson had been speaking with earlier helped him to chase the assailants off.

Incredibly, even after taking blows to the head, thighs and butt, Carson continued shooting for another hour, eventually capturing this photo of the aforementioned convenience store, set ablaze by protestors.

Ferguson Riots

The entire story is both scary and awe-inspiring. Carson’s bravery in rushing to a scene he knew was quickly devolving, not to mention the guts it took to go into a store that was actively being looted, is a testament to the kind of attitude and dedication professional photojournalists have.

We tried to hit the high (or low) points of this scary incident above, but be sure to check out the full story, complete with detailed descriptions and a run-down of the dialog Carson had with an armed looter only a few feet away, by following the link below to the Post-Dispatch.

Attacked on the job: A Post-Dispatch photographer’s tale [Post-Dispatch]

Image credits: Photographs by David Carson/Post-Dispatch, used with express permission from Mr. Carson

  • James F. Reilly

    This is just the thuggish element of that particular area exploiting a tragedy for their own gain. Look at the guy with the pistol tucked into his belt and the black shirt wrapped around his head. Do you think he actually gives a rat’s ass about the kid who was shot? Hell, he’d have probably pulled the trigger on him himself if he looked at him sideways. The senseless death of a teenager with a potentially bright future and college in the offing is a reason to rally together as a community to condemn those responsible. It’s NOT a reason to go smash the windows of your local convenience store and stock up on wine.

  • Kynikos

    Go on, defend these animals. They belong in a zoo.

  • Stan B.

    A) You can concur and agree with that ” frequently under informed, and demonstrably irresponsible” commenter all you like… but the fact is- The Tea Party called themselves “Tea Baggers” first. When they realized it was a slang term that also meant something else- they then blamed others for their mistake in their absolute embarrassment.

    B) There is more than one site that have many, many photos of Tea Baggers with racist signs- and you are either completely delusional to think they are “Liberal plants,” or in complete denial.

    You can Google both of the above facts quite easily and edify yourself- or choose to remain “under informed, and demonstrably irresponsible.” I once apologized to you when I misinterpreted something you said- it was the right thing to do. Time to man up, and face the music that this time you are wrong- on both counts.

  • Mojo

    Anyone who wanted that has been dead for at least 100 years. Most people alive now find the idea abhorent. Who are you targeting with your comment?

  • Stan B.

    Agree, Mr. Reilly! And that’s exactly what the vast majority of residents have done there- demonstrated peacefully en masse, while condemning the actions of those who participated in the looting. There are certain factions however, who choose to focus only on (and make the most of) the small minority of looters.

  • Jason Mayfield-Lewis

    I dunno, I reckon a 70-200 2.8 with a magnesium body on the end of it would make a pretty good club, they’re all fairly hefty and solidly built (although as Roger Cicala will point out, it might need some ‘recalibration’ afterwards.) Not that I’ve tried hitting anything with mine, but the balance seems about right to swing. I think if you held it that way round, the lens mount would probably be the weak point though…

  • Kyle Sanders

    It would have some weight for sure! Granted the only time I have thought about using my setup as a club was while hiking and wondering what I would if a wild animal attacked. In my armchair-toughguy estimation, the 1d body alone would be more effective than a 70-200 – that thing is a solid, condensed block!

    As it regards to this situation, that picture has the looter with a handgun tucked into his pants – regardless of the aperture or with it was white with a red ring or black with a gold ring – I wouldn’t want to bring an expensive tube of metal and glass to a gun fight.

  • Chang

    In response to your point A, even if it were the case (and you’d be hard pressed to prove it) they have realized the mistake and no longer use the term. I know you are homosexual, so it probably seems funnier to you to deprecate them with the term, but it is rather rude.

    Re: point B, I remain relatively unconvinced. Racism is a plague wherever it is found, but with Allan West, Mia Love, and Ted Cruz as the darlings of the movement, that’s a tough argument to make, and to dismiss a large swathe of people based on a few bad apples is ridiculous.

  • Chang

    So to clarify, it does appear that a few Tea-party types used the term first. They certainly don’t now, and the rest of my point stands.

  • Stan B.

    “I know you are homosexual.” -Chang

    My wife would would probably disagree with that- but you know better right, Chang? You never met me- but you know better. You can see right through me from your computer screen- right, Chang? You don’t know my ethnicity, don’t know my personal tastes, don’t know anything about how or where I grew up…
    BUT— you know I’m homosexual!!!

    I thought you had some small modicum of common sense- but now I know, from your own pitiful mouth: you are an idiot.

  • SeoulFood

    HAHAHA! Used the word thug! We all know what that means in Fox News lingo…

  • ISO640

    Just FYI, 86% of white people murdered were murdered by other white people–murder is generally a crime of proximity, meaning most people murdered are murdered by someone within their social network and that usually means they are the same race too.

    So this “biggest killer” argument is actually apples and oranges and isn’t the issue in this case (or Eric Garner in NYC or Ezell Ford in LA or Trayvon Martin in FL or Renisha McBride in MI or the 313 unarmed black people shot in 2012). The short research I did for this reply shows the numbers seem to be rising yearly. There is a problem in the United States where some police officers are taking it upon themselves to be the judge, jury and executioner and something needs to be done about it because EVERYONE should be able to feel safe when confronted by police and not have to worry that they’re going to take a bullet (or 10) to the back when they’ve done nothing more than “disobey” a direct order. If a police officer is that afraid of an individual, then maybe he needs to look at another line of employment.

  • Chang

    My apologies for misunderstanding the conversation above. However, a misunderstanding is hardly evidence of idiocy. And the fact that you single out that point, and fail to address the rest of what I said leads me to believe that you are unable to.

  • Stan B.

    Apology accepted.

    “To dismiss a large swathe of people based on a few bad apples is ridiculous.”

    If the large majority of Tea Baggers (I assume they put the tea bags on their hats and clothes themselves when they go out in public) did not support and approve all those racist signs, then one would have to conclude that they would do everything in their power to not allow them at their rallies. There would even be pictures of many a Tea Bagger informing their fellow Tea Baggers not to partake in such an obviously hateful, racist and ignorant practice.

    Finally, I have yet to see any official recall from Tea Baggers who no longer want themselves to be known as Tea Baggers- the term they officially coined for themselves. It was the Tea Baggers themselves who popularized the term- don’t revise history. It was “the left” that pointed out the errr… current definition. Whose fault is that?

  • Mojo

    “I know you are homosexual” …no wonder he always follows my comments…creepy.

  • Stan B.

    He just apologized for his mistake (something you are incapable of)- which you either did not read, or refuse to admit.
    Your usual MO.

    Have fun with your grade school taunts and teases. Pathetic…

  • thoughtpolicemen

    What a racist jackass you are…supporting criminal looters. You must make your wife very proud?

  • PolishGuyFromBrooklyn

    Most of the rioters are uneducated thugs. They don’t give a flying f**k about Michael Brown.

  • Rob Elliott

    Here is what I don’t get… how is a riot, before any investigation is complete, or all the information is provided, a logical response.

    How does this help improve relationships with local law enforcement or government, when the people of this community show them selves to be a weak excuse from becoming violent, thieving thugs?

    I realize this isn’t (I hope) a representative group of black culture in the US, but this doesn’t bring justice, help the long term tensions and worse reinforces stereotypes some members of the law enforcement community have.

  • Stan B.

    Speaking of jackasses- how about you READ what I said uptop agreeing that rioting is senseless, stupid and unwarranted.

    But knowing what you’re talking about isn’t as much fun- is it? It’s better just to lash out with senseless vitriol! Makes ya feel good don’t it?

  • Stan B.

    Who said it was “logical?” It’s illogical, emotional, counterproductive. It’s taking things out on the closest opportunity available. Kicking the societal dog. When you feel powerless, when your schools are third rate, when there are no jobs but the drug trade and minimum wage jobs that can’t pay rent, when you can’t afford higher ed even if you make the grades, when you have a well over 90% White police force that doesn’t live in your hood oppressing you daily, calling you animals, stopping and abusing you whenever they want- believe it or not… you can do irrational things!

    NO— I’m not excusing it; I’m not condoning it. Understanding something doesn’t mean you condone things. That’s what Conservatives can’t fathom – they can’t hold two conflicting thoughts in their simple heads at once. Repeat: understanding DOES NOT EQUAL your blessing and support.

    It’s simple science- the more you understand something, the more prepared you are to deal with it and apply a truly effective solution by addressing what causes such episodic violence. But Conservatives like the present scenario of keeping all minorities in ghettos that have next to nothing, so they can continue to play the blame game- there all animals, it’s all there fault!

    If you’re White and never lived in one, isolated from the rest of society- I don’t expect you to understand. But Conservatives will tell you everything about anything and anyone with no direct knowledge of it whatsoever!

  • Joe

    BS. You smug condescending progressive democrat party douche.

  • Adam Cross

    ah yes, “thug”. the media buzzword of the moment because they can’t say the N word anymore. Carry on believe what cops say if you like. But try paying attention to #Ferguson and see what’s really happening.

  • Adam Cross

    By what’s happening in Ferguson right now I would say “long in the past” isn’t exactly an accurate statement.

  • thing unreal

    It’s really sad that people care more about burned out gas stations than they do about dead children being murdered by militarized police. And anyone that ever says “animals” or “thugs” or “zoo” or whatever ends up being some 60 year old white sociopath methhead redneck eternally angry because he got rejected by some black girl he fetishes over because he still jerks off to the thought of having women as slaves, because nobody will ever touch him otherwise.

  • Mojo

    Not really. We live in the age of the victim mentality. Some groups of people are better at perpetuating that mentality than others. It would be like the French continuing to protest, hate and demonstrate against their neighbor Germany for previous war crimes. But to them, it’s all in the past, they’ve moved on and focus on things that matter; not on what they can get out of Germany.

  • Stan B.

    Not even a Democrat…

  • Rob Elliott

    I’ve learned a long time ago, not to bother with racists nothing you say will matter, particularly if I’m of the group they are racists against. I hope your hate disappears one day, and you and your culture can heal. All I ask is don’t teach your kids to be racists. No one is born that way.

  • Stan B.

    I don’t get where you are reading hate in my response at all…

    Racism is a power structure created by those on top, those in power. The people on the bottom can only react to it the best way(s) they know how, and being human, those aren’t always the best ways…

  • guy

    If I lived in America and I was in that situation, I would simply pulled my gun out and shot them. I have to give props to him for not doing that.

  • Jonno Wade

    Are you really this stupid, or are you trolling? I hope you are just trolling because i hate to think that someone is really this stupid.

  • SeoulFood

    Dammit! Stop using logic, statistics, and common sense! This is a web site comments section! NOT ALLOWED!

  • n0n0

    Hypocrites and animals. So uncivilized, thus they do not belong in society.

  • ZeroSum1

    These aren’t Protesters they are “Opportunist” all they bring is Anarchy, Using someones death as an excuse to act like pea brained animals.

  • ZeroSum1

    wow lmao that thought process went WAY off in left field, but at least i see how racist and ignorant you can be…2 sides of the same coin.

  • ZeroSum1

    you are all puppets lmao there is more black on black crime and 10x’s more Black on white crime in this country but that is so common and it doesn’t “Sell” , so while your sitting there watching this Media Puppet show, the Real threat is passing law after law to take away more of your rights in the name of “national Security” so this Police brutality your protesting will eventually be come more and more Legal, one morning you will wake up with a swat team on your doorstep and there will be nothing you can do or say about it. Enjoy what little free speech you have left.

  • black truth

    Blacks have rioted, looted and burned down every city or community that they move into and become a majority in.

    There will always be a excuse for why they did this, but they do it in EVERY CASE, so the excuse is only a way to attempt to deflect the reality that this is NORMAL for blacks.

    There is MASSIVELY more inter-racial black crime against whites, than the other way around and cops attempting to police a area being overrun by blacks cannot behave like officer friendly because the black thug gangsta culture is pure evil.

    In ALMOST EVERY CASE, Ferguson included, Blacks did not build, create, desigg, or construct any of the homes, businesses, public works or assets in these cities or towns. They simply migrated there and ran out anyone who was civilized in their behaviour or who had kids or a wife they needed to protect from black crime. Blacks cannot build or create anything of lasting value, or construct civil societies. They cannot sustain them, as evidenced by EVERY major US city in which they took over white built infrastructure, ruined it, and later moved to the suburbs complaining that no one wanted to open a grocery store or business in the black appropriated area they had ruined.