The protests in Ferguson were off to a relatively peaceful start on Monday night, but the tension between the press and the police has not improved. Around 6:30 p.m., those on the ground reported that Scott Olson, a Getty photographer who has been documenting the protests all week, was being arrested. The Telegraph’s Rob Crilly said it appeared Olson was taken into custody “for not getting out the way fast enough when ordered.” “He was literally just across the street from the media area,” tweeted the Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly, one of the first two journalists arrested last week, adding, “Not a good sign for media access tonight.”
Animal New York’s Amy K. Nelson captured video of Olson’s arrest:
Shortly before 9 p.m., Getty released a statement confirming that Olson had been arrested:
Getty Images staff photographer Scott Olson was arrested this afternoon in Ferguson, Missouri, while on assignment documenting the events there. We at Getty Images stand firmly behind our colleague Scott Olson and the right to report from Ferguson. Getty Images is working to secure his release as soon as possible.
We strongly object to his arrest and are committed to ensuring he is able to resume his important work of capturing some of the most iconic images of this news story.
Olson wasn’t the only journalist who ran into trouble with the police. CNN’s Don Lemon was pushed back by police on live TV:
Journalists have been arrested, tear-gassed, and threatened by police repeatedly during the protests, to the point that President Obama remarked, “Here in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their job and report to the American people what they see on the ground.”
But for those unmoved by concerns about freedom of the press, on Monday afternoon Ferguson police managed to make some arrests that look even worse. Eight people protesting outside the Wainwright Building, where Missouri Governor Nixon has an office, were taken into custody for failure to disperse, including a pregnant woman and a 90-year-old activist and Holocaust survivor.
“I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was ninety,” Hedy Epstein told The Nation as she was being led to a police van. “We need to stand up today so that people won’t have to do this when they’re ninety.”
UPDATE: Getty reports Olson has been released, and will continue photographing the events in Ferguson. “I want to be able to do my job as a member of the media and not be arrested for just doing my job,” he said.