Two Journalists Arrested in Ferguson Receive Settlements

Carlos Miller

Two Journalists Arrested in Ferguson Receive Settlements While “Officer Go Fuck Yourself”

Two photojournalists arrested covering the protests in Ferguson last year, including one who photographed the infamous “Officer Go Fuck Yourself,” agreed to settlements in which their cases will be dropped and their records expunged.

But only one will receive financial remedies.

Trey Yingst, who was arrested on November 22 – a day after a judge issued an order forbidding cops from arresting journalists – will receive an $8,500 settlement from St. Louis County.

And Bilgin Şaşmaz, who was arrested after photographing St. Ann police officer Ray Albers, the cop who became a viral sensation after pointing his assault rifle at a group of journalists, telling them, “I will fucking kill you,” did not receive any financial compensation despite spending the night in jail and having his camera broken.

“These cases were negotiated separately and the settlements reflect the deals that the respective client agreed to,” said Diane K. Balogh, communications director of the ACLU of Missouri, who represented both journalists.

Read the ACLU press release here, which includes links to the settlements.

Meanwhile, Albers, who was forced to resign after the incident, is still a certified law enforcement officer in Missouri. For all we know, he can be employed by any of the many police agencies in the state.

But that might change in October when he is scheduled to attend a hearing in which the state is trying to revoke his certification.

According to state documents, Albers broke several laws that night, including assault, harassment, unlawful use of a weapon and disturbing the peace, charges that would have many of us facing jail time.

But the lieutenant also refused to identify himself when asked, telling protesters and journalists his name was Officer Go Fuck Yourself, a name that instantly stuck, even though it cost him his job.

But the worst the 20-year veteran appears to be facing is losing his law enforcement license, which means he can still find work as a cop in other states.

The following is an excerpt from the administrative complaint:

His hearing is scheduled for October 22, 2015, more than one year after he showed the world that he was completely unfit to wear a badge.

For months, PINAC researcher Mike Rekart, who was profiled here by Theresa Richard, has been filing public records requests with the city of St. Ann, asking for certain documents pertaining to Officer Go Fuck Yourself.

But City Administrator Matt Conley informed Rekart that it would cost more than $300 to compile these records because the city’s email system is incapable of conducting a simple search through emails using “Raymond Albers” or “Albers” as keywords.

The main exchange is below, but you can read the entire email conversation here by reading from the bottom up.

Pursuant to the regulations and statutes provided by chapter 610 RSMo,
I’d like to request the following information,

A copy of any and all complaints regarding Officer Raymond Albers

the Date that Officer Raymond Albers graduated from the Academy,

a copy of all emails with the keyword search of “Raymond Albers”, or “Albers” starting in August 2014 to Current date.

A List of Raymond Albers Training.

A copy of his “Oath of Office” documentation.
Please provide a response pursuant to § 610.023.3 as quickly as possible and if the information can not be provided in a timely manner, please provide a detailed response as to the delay,

Conley’s response:

Per RsMo 610.023 (3) the records you are requesting are not immediately available and will require researching. It is estimated that researching for items 1, 2 & 4 will require a minimum of 2 hours of research at $36/per hour. A “keyword” search listed in Item 3 is not technically possible with email system the City uses. Additionally, any records contained in item 1 will require review by the City’s Legal Counsel as they may contain exempt material under RsMo 610.024 (1) & (2) and may require an additional deposit of $300. We will being researching items 1, 2, & 4 upon receipt of an initial deposit of $72 to cover the research cost. Should records be found that meet item 1, the additional deposit will be required.

Because PINAC runs on a tight budget, we were unable to pay the fees, but maybe if you send him an email and make the same requests, it might convince him to waive the fees.

Although several journalists were arrested during the Ferguson protests, there are not any still facing criminal charges, said Balogh, the ACLU spokeswoman.

Yingst, who co-founded News2Share in Washington D.C., said he will donate a portion of the money to a scholarship fund for high school students from Ferguson looking to study journalism in college.

In May, News2Share co-founder Ford Fischer was handcuffed and cited for disorderly conduct while covering the protests in Baltimore after the Freddie Gray death. That charge is still pending.

Below are videos of Yingst’s arrest along with a video of Officer Go Fuck Yourself recorded by Mike “Bluehair” Smith of Film the Police Portland, who was arrested Sunday morning with Antonio Buehler.

So far, Yingst, Sasmaz, Smith and Buehler have spent more time in jail for exercising their right to record cops than Albers, who committed at least one felony by pointing a loaded gun at people who were not threatening him, not to mention several misdemeanors.

And he’s telling us to go fuck ourselves?


Citizen Journalism