St. Louis County police fired tear gas and rubber bullets last night at peaceful protesters and the media in Ferguson, Mo.
The incident began shortly after 9. p.m. when the St. Louis County police, armed in military-like tactical gear, fired tear gas canisters at a news crew from Al Jazeera America (video below).
According to a KSDK news crew at the scene, the Al Jazeera America crew told the police, "We're the press."
Moments later, the Al Jazeera America crew ran away from the tear gas, leaving their equipment and van on the street. Two St. Louis County police officers took down Al Jazeera America's TV lights and pointed their TV camera downwards.
The KSDK crew also says a "bean bag round" was shot by the police at their cameraman's equipment (video below).
KSDK claims police officers approached them with "guns drawn" and told the journalists that they received a call that reporters were in danger. However, the only threat to the reporters were the police themselves.
One of the police officers told the KSDK crew, "We don't want you here. Somebody's going to get hurt. We don't want to see you guys get hurt." The police then escorted the news crew away from the scene.
St. Louis County police also shot bean gags and rubber bullets at a crowd of peaceful protesters. The (video) below was shot by KARG radio reporter Mustafa Hussein.
“The crowd has dispersed, and they’re now going after people who are trying to go back into their vehicles,” Hussein told MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell. “We are trapped away from our vehicle and cannot get back to it.”
Hussein also recalled that the police told the media to stop filming the scene.
"Do [the police] actually believe that they have that right?” a shocked O’Donnell asked, noted RawStory.com.
“I don’t know that they believe they have that right,” Hussein stated. “I know that this is a practice that they have taken over the last three nights. We have reports from the crowd that once the media has left the area, tension has taken a turn for the worse.”
Newsweek reports that Ferguson resembles a war zone with police wearing "marine-issue camouflage and military-grade body armor, toting short-barreled assault rifles, and rolling around in armored vehicles."
However, this is all legal because of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was passed in 1990 and allows the U.S. government to “transfer to Federal and State agencies personal property of the Department of Defense,” notes Newsweek.
The NDAA actually encourages local police, including St. Louis County, to use military tactics and weapons against U.S. citizens by providing cops with this extra military equipment for little or no money.