Getty Photographer and Former Marine Scott Olson Arrested Monday in Ferguson

The photograph above, tweeted out by Huffington Post justice reporter Ryan J. Reilly, shows Getty photographer Scott Olson being taken into custody by Ferguson police while covering the ongoing protests and riots sparked by the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed African American man who was shot and killed by police on August 9th.

Olson claims police told him that he was being arrested because “the media is required to be in a certain area,” something he refused to do. And even though he was released later on that same day and no charges have been filed, the photojournalist was clearly unhappy about how the situation is being handled by police:

Olson isn’t alone, either. It was just last week, after the controversial arrest of journalists from both the Huffington Post and the Washington Post that President Obama himself said, “Police should not be bullying or arresting journalists just trying to do their jobs.”

In response, the powers that be in Ferguson signed a court declaration that they would not arrest journalists covering the protests unless they posed a threat to public safety or were obstructing police. None of the eye-witness reports by other journalists indicate he was doing either of these things.

Olson has been critical of the police action since before his arrest. Just this Saturday, the former Marine told NPR’s All Things Considered that he was shocked police were out there with M16s and sniper rifles. You can listen to that full segment above.

  • tiny11231

    He didn’t want to stay in the press bull pen. yah need to follow the rules.

  • Chang

    This is America, not China.

  • mofromUS

    You from the Media are not above the law either. You have boundaries that need to be followed just as the rest of us do. You think because you have a press pass, it is an all inclusive pass to do what ever it takes to get a story. I just wonder what you have made up, just to keep the story alive.

  • Chang

    Those boundaries are pretty much “don’t hurt anyone and don’t get in the way”. Though the expansion of foolish laws by forces right and left has curtailed this somewhat, unfortunately.

  • Fee Gunn

    It’s not a damn fashion show where they have staged areas to shoot what they “want” you to shoot. I’m sure he was very careful in this situation as a press pass does not give you immortality and any field photographer knows all too well.

  • Sarpent

    “yah need to follow the ARBITRARY rules”

    …There, fixed that for ya.

  • Future is Now

    If nothing else this Ferguson episode has revealed how utterly ineptly amateur the government and law enforcement is down there. It’s only St. Louis but you’d think it was a set from In the Heat of the Night.

  • Mr Hogwallop

    Would you rather have the police decide what the press sees, where it stands or who it talks to? Maybe run all the stories through a police approval process?

  • Mr Hogwallop

    Bull pens are for press conferences, baseball games and of course Bull, not real news stories. I think we learned a lessen with the “embedded reporters” in Iraq & Afghanistan. We saw all the news that the authorities wanted us to see.

  • pgb0517

    You know little of American civics. Journalists with press passes do actually get more access to news events than the general public. It’s a responsibility that most of them take very seriously.

  • mofromUS

    What I am saying is the media, the cops, the lawyers, Politicians all do what they want at any cost, and don’t think about the consequences of those actions. We do that they throw us in the clink and lose the key. The media needs to remember that they like us have to follow certain rules of conduct, they are not above us and should not break rules to get a story when it can possibly do more harm than good.

  • dbw1977

    the rules, eh. stay in your home, be there by 9. How do you like those rules.

    This isn’t the USSR, we don’t need papers to go somewhere. Granted, he took his safety into his own hands, but that is his issue.

    We don’t tell war reporters to stay in the press bullpen…

  • Zos Xavius

    “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

    -Orwell, 1984

  • dbw1977

    what law? What law did he break exactly? The “the cop said stay here and not there” law?

    Cops don’t have unilateral authority.

  • g00gander

    We have this little thing called Free Press in the States that is protected by a something we call the First Amendment: “The Free Press Clause protects the right of individuals to express themselves through publication and dissemination of information, ideas and opinions without interference, constraint or prosecution by the government.”

    In this case the police arrested a professional photographer and later released him…because he had done nothing illegal. A fact which they, the LEOs, obviously knew.

  • Zos Xavius

    North Korea called. They want their expatriate back.

  • Mr Hogwallop

    The problem is that the “rules of conduct” are made up by the same people who have a vested interest in controlling/restricing the information, whether a small town police department/city council or the US government. No real news stories are created this way, only press releases. No news will come from the ‘organized protest zones” and the regulated press looking on from across the street.

    When they throw you/us n the clink, maybe a reporter will see it and question the authorities…Funny how they catch and release these reporters to get them off the street for a while….

    According to the Guardian:

    “Police in Ferguson had been preventing crowds from gathering on the streets in Ferguson on Monday.
    An “organised protest zone” was set up close to the convenience store where unarmed teenager Michael Brown allegedly stole cigars minutes before he was shot by a police officer. Media were directed to view the
    zone from another area opposite it. Olson was across the street from the press area when he was detained.”

  • Richard Hyde

    No ya F*&KNG Don’t. There’s no such thing as a “press bull pen” on the streets of America. The press is allowed to be anywhere they want.

  • @JacksonCheese

    You’re an authoritarian bootlicker, aren’t ya?

  • Richard Hyde

    The rules of conduct here are that the press is allowed anywhere on a public street. In fact the public is allowed to be anywhere on a public street. We are allowed by the constitution to photograph or record the police in this country. If he had really broken the law they would not have let him go without charging him.

  • ALP

    Have you ever actually met someone from the press? Worked with them? Talked to them about the long hours, low pay, lack of respect from people who think they would make things up or “do whatever it takes” to get a story? To, god forbid, try to make sure the general public has the opportunity to be informed rather than blissfully ignorant? Because you’re describing stereotypes from movies, not actual journalists.

  • ALP

    Yet another thing people don’t understand about the press. The rights they have to go the majority of places and have the information that they do is not because they are members of the press, it’s because they are citizens of this country.

  • Benoit Evans

    The situation in Ferguson looks like a scene from “Abbot and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops”. The authorities seem to be unable to do anything right. We still have no incident report, which by law is a public document. That fact alone undermined public trust from the very beginning. The means used for crowd control has provoked everyone and no doubt increased the motivation of a small number of individuals to vandalize and loot. I guess we should be thankful that the Missouri police never heard about Alabama public commissioner Bull Connor’s use of attack dogs in the 1960’s.

  • Matt

    Disturbing on many levels. We need to stand up for all rights, and even more so for someone who served. But we can’t forget the basic problems going on in Furguson.

  • nikonian

    Do you shoot news? Mr Hogwallop is 100% correct. If they had tape up that is one thing (journalists aren’t allowed to disturb a contained crime scene) other than that anything on the streets is free range.

  • Uncle Wig

    I don’t know what worries me more: the cops arresting journalists, or the people on this forum like mofromUS who think that’s perfectly OK.

  • Freddie Rodrigue

    Yes we do and they are escorted or told to stay with the units they are embedded with for their safety… Not one of them ventured out on their own for fear of a sniper taking them out. …

  • Genkakuzai

    Absolutely disgusting.

  • Juan Bautista

    Time for a change on the police department. Thats all!

  • Stan B.

    Good to see people are awake to seeing how cops treat even (White) members of the press. Perhaps it’ll awaken others to how they’d treat someone neither White nor of the press…

  • Peter “Pots”

    All you folks that just posted, try to remember this is the Deep South and if you are not a “good ole boy” you are in trouble…black or white!

  • Zos Xavius

    these are the same people who encourage more invasions of their privacy in the name of “security” because they have “nothing to hide.” The terrorists have won.

  • Rob-L

    No, sir. The first amendment ensures the freedom of the press and does not limit that freedom only to certain public areas. The same with “protest zones” – that’s a BS rule that is against the first amendment as well.

  • sean lancaster

    Covering a story doesn’t happen while sitting in a bullpen. The press needs to be near and even in the action (as long as they aren’t interfering with ongoing police functions). We had media traveling with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet in St. Louis the media has to be hidden – and he was arrested during daylight hours. That’s goofy.

  • Bewar3them00n

    I thought it was a Police service? To protect and serve? Not a1984 style fascist regime !!
    Even Obama has chipped in on the side of the photographers, but we all know what the Police think of Obama!

  • Zos Xavius

    Not just goofy. Disturbing.

  • Fullstop

    St. Louis is the “Deep South?”

  • John Cooper

    I worked civil disturbances in the 60’s and 70’s in California. If you linger to get a certain shot AFTER law enforcement tells you to move, at a minimum expect to be treated harshly. As long as I played by the rules most law enforcement actually protected me from those who did not want to be photographed. And yes, before someone posts it, I know it’s a new world and civility is nearly extinct. However, keep in mind that if you choose to document civil unrest, expect to be treated harshly by someone and/or injured. Don’t whine and look for sympathy later.

  • John Cooper

    Geography is not your strong point.

  • John Cooper

    Unfortunately, “professionals” working for the NY Times, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and many other organizations have been caught fabricating stories, and/or altering ‘facts’ and video. Real journalistic truth and freedom is now controlled by the politics of media outlet owners. The internet has revealed so much corruption in journalism that the public questions or ignores almost everything reported. Professional Journalists are being replaced by network “talking heads”, and people with cellphones and postings on Youtube. JMO.

  • Peter “Pots”

    Thank you for the comments about my geographic abilities. I left out the terms “mind set” as in attitudes and a precise location

  • John Cooper

    Peter, as a member of the so-called “Deep south”, I can assure you the mindset you apparently refer to died in the 1950’s. People here work hard and do their best to get along with one another. Check the history of violent behaviors in the last 20-years or so and you’ll see that Washington, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia are far more dangerous places than most southern cities. We don’t have much sympathy for law-breakers, or tell law enforcement how to do their job. The actual “mind set” is obey the law and you will be fine.

  • Vin Weathermon

    Seems like the press should be wearing personal camcorders that will be streaming recorded media somewhere else for evidence.

  • Vin Weathermon

    National Enquirer (spelled correctly) is tabloid news and that is expected. The whole “press corp” is there to record the truth, get the story out there. Have bureaus tailored their selection of news to follow a political agenda? Absolutely. But I believe that most writers are trying to tell the truth….as they see it.

  • Vin Weathermon

    Don’t give them ideas (attack dogs).

  • ALP

    Then stop watching the idiot box and start reading newspapers. And frankly, there are hundreds of thousands of journalists in this country, a few high-profile fabrications does not condemn an entire profession. And the Internet doesn’t reveal corruption any more than you car reveals the grocery store. It’s a tool. And for the most part the corruption and fabrications have been revealed by OTHER MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA. The fact that reporters sometimes offer details that don’t fit into your world view or that refute the way you want things to be doesn’t mean that corporate interests have corrupted newsrooms (the only place that has really happened is in the size of staffs and the amount of time a reporter is alloted to work on a story), it means that you might be wrong about something. Oh, yeah, JMO.

  • Chang 场河

    Neither is history.

  • John Cooper

    The idiot box is national media, like it or not. It’s where the so-called world standard newspapers NY Times, LA Times, and Chicago Tribune were exposed for fabricating stories and fact altering to meet their political agenda. I am among those who don’t want media making facts “Fit my world”, or anything else. The truth is preferred. I use an earlier comment and fact to illustrate my point, NBC has not aired a segment on the Nightly News about the disposition or status of the border children since August 14th. Not news worthy? I’m sure there are thousands of hard working professional journalists in the country, but they have limited outlets for their work.