Media Groups Ask DOJ To Include Police-Media Relations In Ferguson Probe


A coalition of 44 media groups organized by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is calling on the U.S. Justice Department to include in its probe of last month’s killing of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., “an examination of the manner in which police interact with and release information to the public and the press during such contentious events.” The organizations say, “An important element of protecting civil rights is allowing uninhibited news coverage of the sometimes scalding controversies that follow race, gender, and other issues relating to political equality around the nation.”

The groups urge that DOJ’s criminal and “civil pattern and practice” investigations probe “the arrest and mistreatment of journalists in Ferguson” and that the “collaborative reform process” undertaken by DOJ’s COPS office “recognizes the need for more effective training for St. Louis County law enforcement on their interaction with the media and their respect for First Amendment rights, and involves members of the local news media and this coalition in implementing this training.” One organization signing the letter is Criminal Justice Journalists. The letter cites a 2012 report for COPS on media-police relations that was produced by the Center for Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College of Justice, which collaborates with Criminal Justice Journalists in publishing this news digest.

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