Four Journalists Sue St. Louis County, St. Louis County Police and 20 Police Officers
Journalists 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.”
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 Ansgar Graw, Ferguson, Frank Hermann, German, lawsuit, Lukas Hermsmeier, police, Ryan Devereaux, Scott Olson, St. Louis County. Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.