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Groups Seek Investigation of Police Treatment of Journalists

Press groups including the Radio-Television Digital News Association have called on the mayor of St. Louis to include the treatment of reporters in the city's investigation of how police handled riots there.

That came in a letter to Mayor Lyda Krewson.

The mayor pledged to investigate police conduct during protests in mid-September of the acquittal of a former police officer's shooting of a black man,

Krewson has also called for a separate investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office.

The press groups applauded those, but added that "thorough consideration" of press treatment needed to be part of the equation.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said 10 members of the press were arrested while covering the protests according to a database that tracks press freedom.

Others reported excessive force by police.

"Journalists should not have to fear for their physical well-being at the hands of law enforcement when they cover newsworthy events," the groups wrote. "We ask you to conduct a thorough examination of cases in which reporters were assaulted or arrested and discipline individual officers found to have behaved unacceptably."

Other signatories to the letter included the Society of Professional Journalists, NewsGuild-CWA, Free Press, and the Columbia Journalism Review. 

(Photo by Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia Commons; used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license)