5 Things Ferguson Got Terribly Wrong over the Weekend

By Aura Bogado Aug 18, 2014

It was bad enough that Ferguson’s police chief, Tom Jackson, released video of Michael Brown shortly before he was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson–against the Department of Justice’s suggestion. The storeowners that Michael Brown visited before his death also made clear they never even called 911.

But authorities in Ferguson continued to make even more trouble over the weekend, especially when it came to dealing with journalists during the ongoing state of emergency. Here are just five of the ways Ferguson continues to get things wrong:

Saturday’s press conference turns to chaos
Governor Jay Nixon called a press conference on Saturday during which he announced a state of emergency–which was met by community members asking questions Nixon wasn’t exactly comfortable answering (jump to 04:18 for the first audience response):


Caging reporters
Accredited reporters were allowed to remain in a "staging area," which impeded them from doing their jobs. While some reporters refused to accommodate the police’s request, other stayed behind in this zone:


Lying to reporters about use of tear gas
One of the perils of journalists remaining in the police-sanctioned staging area is that they’re influenced by what the police say is happening over what is actually occurring. For example, police used tear gas on Saturday night but convinced journalists in the staging are that it was only smoke–and many inaccurately reported it that way:


Failing to get help a gunshot victim
Police were out in full force this weekend, yet failed to get a gunshot victim to the hospital Saturday night. USA Today reported that Missouri’s State Highway Patrol Captain Ronald Johnson claimed "police used tear gas in an effort to reach the wounded person, but that other protesters already had taken the shooting victim to the hospital." We’re not really sure how tear gas would help get a victim to a hospital–and his community got him there instead. This is presumably the gunshot victim being lifted off the ground on Saturday:


Middle-of-the-night press conferences
In what seems like a willful effort to avoid questions from the press (as well as local residents), Ferguson keeps hosting press conferences in the middle of the night. Writer Tina Vásquez pointed out just how problematic this is: