A photojournalist for the photography syndicate Getty Images was arrested in Ferguson, Missouri on Monday night, amid ongoing protests over the death of unarmed teen Mike Brown.
Photographer Scott Olson was among a few (including reportedly a holocaust survivor) arrested in near the town’s McDonald’s for “not getting out the way fast enough when ordered,” according to a reporter for The Telegraph who was at the scene. Getty confirmed their reporter’s arrest in captions uploaded to their site reading, “Getty Images staff photographer Scott Olson is placed into a paddy wagon after being arrested by police as he covers the demonstration following the shooting death of Michael Brown.”
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 18, 2014
Olson’s arrest comes just a few days after two other reporters, The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery and the Huffington Post’s Ryan J. Reilly, were arrested at the same McDonald’s for similar reasons. At the time, Lowery pointed to the heart of his concern about his own arrest: “[T]he thing is,” he told his colleague at the Post, “so many people here in Ferguson don’t have as many Twitter followers as I have and don’t have Jeff Bezos or whoever to call and bail them out of jail.”
But even outside of those two arrests, press freedom in Ferguson has been a growing issue. Last week, the St. Louis police department told ThinkProgress that they had requested a no-fly zone over Ferguson because media helicopters were in the way. Police also reportedly turned journalists away from protests early on, telling them “no media allowed.”
Getty released a statement on Olson’s arrest Monday night. “We at Getty Images stand firmly behind our colleague Scott Olson and the right to report from Ferguson,” the statement from Pancho Bernasconi, VP of News, said. “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 has been released, according to Getty’s Pancho Bernasconi:
Scott Olson just released. He said “I want to be able to do my job as a member of the media and not be arrested for just doing my job”
— Pancho Bernasconi (@DailyLuca) August 19, 2014
A man on Twitter who identified himself as Olson’s son also said he spoke with his father after his release:
I just spoke to my dad, Scott Olson. He's out of jail and said "looks like protests are kicking up. I'm going back to work." #Ferguson
— Justin (@JJMerrif) August 19, 2014