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Michael Brown Case: Authorities Acknowledge Right to Record Police

St. Louis County, the city of Ferguson and the Missouri Highway Patrol agreed that the public can record police in public.
Image: Police officers watch as demonstrators protest the death of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson
Police watch Tuesday as demonstrators protest the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.MARIO ANZUONI / Reuters

In the wake of police action against journalists covering protests of the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, law enforcement and local officials signed an agreement Friday acknowledging that the public has a constitutional right to record police in public.

The statement ended a court dispute in which Mustafa Hussein, identified as a journalist with Argus Media Group, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri sought a temporary restraining order banning law enforcement in St. Louis County from ordering members of the public to turn off their cameras as residents of Ferguson protested Brown's death last weekend. Hussein said in court documents (PDF) that he and other members of the public were ordered to stop recording the protests Wednesday night. Hussein withdrew the motion Friday after representatives of St. Louis County, the city of Ferguson and the Missouri Highway Patrol signed the agreement.

Separately Friday, the Missouri ACLU filed a lawsuit against the city of Ferguson and the Ferguson Police Department to force the release of police documents in the shooting of Brown. Ferguson police have released security video purporting to show Brown, 19, robbing a convenience store shortly before he was shot by a police officer Saturday, but so far they haven't released any documents in the investigation of the shooting itself.



— M. Alex Johnson