Journalists Settle Lawsuit against St. Louis Police over Treatment at Ferguson Protests

By Byers, Christine | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), October 29, 2016 | Go to article overview

Journalists Settle Lawsuit against St. Louis Police over Treatment at Ferguson Protests


Byers, Christine, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


ST. LOUIS * Officers in two specialized city police units, and cadets, will receive training on the rights of the news media and public as part of a lawsuit settled this month with journalists arrested during the protests two years ago in Ferguson.

The suit, filed in federal court in St. Louis in March 2015 against city and county police leaders and officers, claimed that the journalists were falsely arrested, held without probable cause and subjected to false imprisonment and battery.

The plaintiffs are Ryan Devereaux, a reporter with Intercept/ First Look Media; Ansgar Graw, senior U.S. political correspondent for Die Welt and Welt am Sonntag; Frank Herrmann, the U.S. correspondent for a group of German regional papers; and freelancer Lukas Hermsmeier.

In addition to requiring training for Civil Disobedience Team and SWAT officers and cadets, city attorneys also settled with the journalists for a total of $12,500.

The city was given 90 days from the Oct. 10 settlement to begin the training, but it's already begun, and the department already has an internal policy regarding the recording of police at work, said city spokeswoman Maggie Crane.

"We expect all officers to know and abide by policy," Crane said in a statement. "This policy in particular is not new, but under the settlement agreement, we affirmed that CDT and SWAT officers would be explicitly trained and that new cadets at the academy would also receive training on this particular topic."

In May, the St. Louis County police settled its lawsuit with the same journalists.

County counselors agreed to pay $75,000, including legal costs and attorneys' fees. The settlement also required that county police undergo training as well as enact a policy to allow the recording of police activity, something that did not exist before the Ferguson protests. …

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