Four Journalists Sue St. Louis County, St. Louis County Police and 20 Police Officers

Ferguson-protests-jourmalists-arrestedJournalists Ansgar Graw, Frank Hermann, Lukas Hermsmeier, and Ryan Devereaux, have filed a lawsuit that alleges battery by the police, false arrest and unreasonable search and seizure. The journalists were covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri following the killing of Michael Brown.

“This unlawful conduct was undertaken with the intention of obstructing, chilling, deterring, and retaliating against Plaintiffs for engaging in constitutionally-protected speech, newsgathering, and recording of police activities,” the complaint reads.

Two of the journalists, Devereauz and Hermsmeier, allege that they were shot with rubber bullets after they had raised their hands in the air and identified themselves as members of the press.   Devereaux was hit once in the back and Hermsmeier was hit twice by the officers’ shots.  They were arrested and charged with refusal to disperse. They were left hand-cuffed in plastic ties for hours.  Allegations in the lawsuit include that the journalists still suffer physical injury from having their hands tied tight for hours.

Devereauz is a United States citizen. Hermsmeier is a United States resident who writes for German publications. Ansgar Graw is the Senior Political U.S. Correspondent for Die Welt and Welt am Sonntag. He is a United States resident. Frank Herrmann (“Herrmann”) is the U.S. correspondent for a group of regional newspapers in Germany, led by Rheinische Post. He is a United States resident.

Graw and Herrmann were also charged with refusal to disperse and arrested while presenting their press badges. The lawsuit claims that the officers purposefully tightened the journalists’ plastic ties in order to “inflict pain” on them. When Graw asked for an officer’s name, the officer responded, “Donald Duck.”

The following statement by Graw should embarrass the defendants who served as examples of America’s law enforcement;

 “This was a very new experience. I’ve been in several conflict zones: I was in the civil war regions in Georgia, the Gaza strip, illegally visited the Kaliningrad region when travel to the Soviet Union was still strictly prohibited for westerners, I’ve been in Iraq, Vietnam and in China, I’ve met Cuba dissidents. But to be arrested and yelled at and be rudely treated by police? For that I had to travel to Ferguson and St. Louis in the United States of America.”

1408404348001-getty-arrest3 Ansgar Graw, Frank Hermann, Lukas Hermsmeier, and Ryan Devereaux were 4 of 24 journalists who were arrested in Ferguson from August through November 2014. On August 18, 2014, Getty Images staff photographer Scott Olson was arrested by police as he covered the demonstrations in Ferguson.

 

 

Click here to read the lawsuit.

 

Posted on 03/30/2015, in Cases and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on League of Bloggers For a Better World and commented:
    “This was a very new experience. I’ve been in several conflict zones: I was in the civil war regions in Georgia, the Gaza strip, illegally visited the Kaliningrad region when travel to the Soviet Union was still strictly prohibited for westerners, I’ve been in Iraq, Vietnam and in China, I’ve met Cuba dissidents. But to be arrested and yelled at and be rudely treated by police? For that I had to travel to Ferguson and St. Louis in the United States of America.”

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  2. Two sides to a story

    Good for them. There’s likely many other journalists who should sue PD around the USA for the same thing.

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  3. #43 on page 9 “…officer complained they were getting a bad rap in the media”

    the irony..

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    • Mindyme, amazing, isn’t it? They transformed the streets of an American city to look like a war zone and military occupation in the Middle East, but think it’s the media giving them a bad rap.

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  4. yahtzeebutterfly

    I was appalled back in August 2014 as I watched how reporters (and, also innocent citizens) were treated by various LE officers.

    It is sad that it takes a lawsuit to (hopefully) bring about the needed justice. What should have occurred, I think, was for the police chiefs in charge to have suspended or fired the officers who mistreated and arrested these reporters. Freedom of the press should never be threatened in this manner.

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  5. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

    There is no end to this madness. We have so far to go; we must never give up. Racism has to be rooted out and destroyed.

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  6. Chief Jackson’s military style police force tactics did not look good to peoples around the world. It caused a state of shock and a lot of questions about the militarization of police. Of course, this press gave a lot of negative exposure and this is why he and McCulloch kept decrying about the press and their perception about its unfairness. It only stands to reason that they wanted to have the press become intimidated. Chief Jackson was so proud of all the toys.

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    • Some corrupt local yokel police dept was afforded the power to prevent the Media to fully & freely cover a huge story in our own backyard. the story ended up being about many issues & one of those happened to be the greatest civil rights activism most of us will probably ever see in our lifetime.
      but another one was the largest display of police brutality against innocent ordinary unarmed American citizens, in the year of 2014, who took to the streets to protest the Police execution style killing of ANOTHER unarmed black teenager.

      Remember from DAY 1 Ferguson declared a No Fly zone so media wasn’t able to show the world the whole picture.
      Ferguson PD tried to control what perspective we could see the protests from. they wanted to control what society saw.
      i wonder how much worse it would’ve looked had media been able to cover from the helicopters or whatever.
      imagine what it looked like from the air to see day after day, night after night, gangs of local police officers in their military camouflage getups rolling up in armored Humvees, geared up with war weapons aimed at ordinary American citizens.

      it’s pretty clear in my mind the officials intent was to keep focus narrowly on ‘out of control riotous protesters’ attacking righteous brave police officers & to do so the police had to instigate, intimidate & provoke the citizens into reacting so it appeared to be true.

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      • Shannon, that’s exactly right. What is also a travesty and so so sad, are the numbers of people still willing to believe what the media was allowed to show.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Another officer in Ferguson who arrested a journalist is being sued, but for another matter. He is being sued for falsely arresting and using excessive force upon a 12 year old.

    The reporter speaks about the owner of the apple orchard not removing the bad apples before they spoil the whole bunch.

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    • Ugh, Huffpo has an article on this story stating the case was settled for,…….$4,500…

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      • Mindyme,
        SERIOUSLY?!?! I wonder if that was negotiated based on no permanent injuries or arrest record for a kid? Wonder how much the Plaintiff’s attorney got out of the settlement?

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        • I know, it’s sickening. I’ll try and find out how much, if anything, the kid actually got out of that.

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        • as i understand the settlement in birmingham the fella that ran from police in a high speed chase but wrecked and was thrown from his car during the wreck and then beaten for about a minute, they settled for around $400,000 but the newspaper reported the victim got one check for $1500 and his lawyers got the rest.

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          • Bill,
            There are so many variances to a settlement. I’m hoping that the reason the man only received $1,500 out of $400K is because of other debts and expenses that were paid in full from the settlement amount. For instant, if the man suffered injuries requiring hospitalization and extensive treatment, the $400k would have paid his medical expenses rather than the city paying medical expenses separately. If there was a lien on the vehicle and he had insurance, and the insurance denied claim, (as his fault) the man would still need to pay-off the car note.

            Then there are costs of suit. In other words, the attorneys will reimburse themselves whatever they forked over for filing fees, certified copies, depositions, etc. Then comes the percentage of the settlement for the attorneys; that is assuming that the attorneys are working on contingency and not hourly fees.

            Shall we talk about taxes if the settlement is subject to taxes? Other government liens, such as child support — they get their hands in the pot.

            There are some attorneys who, upon realizing that the costs and expenses will consume the greater part of the settlement amount, will advise their clients to still agree with the amount offered on the basis that it takes the medical bills off and other debts off their plate and puts everything behind them. They also must tell their clients the possibilities of bringing the case to trial, which the outcome is always unpredictable.

            Please note, I am not defending the lawyers in that specific case but considering the possibilities.

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            • TY for the well written response…..i didnt check the details of the billing done by the lawyers and am aware they get to deduct their expenses from any settlement plus their %age…….we have a case right now where some coal mining very close to our house did some damage with blasting, we did not call any lawyer but one morning saw a person looking around our house and it was a lawyer asking us if we wanted to be part of a suit against the miners…..that was i guess 3 years ago? well last september his office called and said they would be getting a settlement right after labor day and we have not called them back since because i am aware they could charge me a huge amount for just calling them and asking what happened to the settlement…….i know in the deposition phase i asked their lawyers arent the questions you have asked me actually an admission that you are aware your client indeed has damaged my home? my lawyer then chimed in with great point and asked them to answer my very pertinent question and they replied it could be taken that way……..i honestly dont expect to get even one penny from them though.

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            • Bill,

              we have not called them back since because i am aware they could charge me a huge amount for just calling them and asking what happened to the settlement

              Funny — a person told me today that he was billed by his attorney for calling his office to inquire about the bill.

              If the case is one of class-action, the amount is divided among all plaintiffs, which means that it’s unlikely to cover the cost of damages. You might be able to check the case docket — see if the court is online. I wish you the best.

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