Michael Brown shooting: Police 'threatened to shoot and mace reporters' in Ferguson

A number of reporters on the scene in the Missouri city have complained of police aggression

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The Independent US

As volatile protests against the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in the US city of Ferguson enter their second week, videos have emerged appearing to show police officers threatening to shoot and mace reporters. 

Police and protesters have clashed almost nightly since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by police offier Darren Wilson on 9 August, and reporters from across the world have flocked to the scene.

The shooting heightened racial tensions between the predominantly black community and the mostly white Ferguson Police Department in the Missouri city. Civil rights activists have compared the shooting to other racially charged cases, particularly the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin - the unarmed black teenager shot by Florida neighborhood watch organizer who was later acquitted of murder.

As night fell in Ferguson on Sunday, the peaceful protest quickly deteriorated and clashes erupted three hours before the midnight curfew imposed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. Officers in riot gear ordered all the protesters to disperse. While many did, around 100 stood about two blocks away until getting hit by another volley of tear gas.

Filming the night using his camera light on Sunday night, Mustafa Hussein, a volunteer reporter from KARG Argus Radio, captured the moment a police officer shouted: “Get the f*ck out of here! You get that light off or you're getting shot with this!”

Warning: the following video contains strong language

Hussein, a political science student, has been documenting the demonstrations since Wednesday, according the Huffington Post. He told the website that Argus Radio was launched a year ago and had purchased video equipment to live stream concerts. But the station had decided to film protests in Ferguson as it feared local broadcasters would not continue their coverage through the night.

Meanwhile, Chris Hayes, a professional reporter from US TV channel MSNBC, was broadcasting live on air when an officer reportedly told him: "Media do not pass us, you're getting maced next time you pass us."

The incidents come amid swathes of posts on social media in which journalists complained of police tactics and aggression.  

TheTelegraph’s Rob Crilly, Neil Munshi of the Financial Times and Robert Klemko from Sports Illustrated all tweeted on Sunday that they’d been arrested by police in Ferguson, Missouri, but were released minutes later.

On Monday, Missouri's governor ordered the National Guard to Ferguson in an attempt to restore order to the town.

Tensions in the city flared when a preliminary private autopsy reported by The New York Times found that Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head. In response, Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered a federal medical examiner to perform another autopsy on Brown.