The incident happened on the same day that President Obama called for freedom of press and assembly in the Missouri town
CNN anchor Don Lemon became part of the story on Monday in Ferguson, Missouri, when police shoved him and protesters on live television.
Brianna Keilar was anchoring a newscast on the cable network and tossed to Lemon, who has been covering the protests and unrest that broke out on Aug. 9, after the shooting death of unarmed African-American teenager, Michael Brown by a local police officer.
“Move out of the way, sir. Move,” a police officer ordered before placing an arm across Lemon to push him back.
According to Lemon, he and the protestors had been instructed to stand at that location on the sidewalk and had “been there all day.”
Despite the fact that cameras were rolling and a crowd of people were watching, the officer continued to push Lemon.
“We’re on national television,” Lemon said. “Imagine what they’re doing to people you don’t see on national television.”
Also on Monday, Getty Images staff photographer Scott Olson was detained by police while covering the protests. His arrest was captured on video and posted on Instagram.
This was all occurring as President Barack Obama held a press conference Monday at the White House and reminded authorities in Ferguson that freedoms of assembly and the press must be “vigilantly safeguarded.” Although there has been sporadic looting, some altercations with police, and reports of gunfire, the President said there was “no excuse for excessive force by police.”
SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents some of the nation’s on-air talent also denounced the treatment of journalists in Ferguson.
“SAG-AFTRA joins the rest of the journalism community in condemning the arrest and detention of reporters covering the events happening in Ferguson, Missouri.,” the group said in a statement Monday.
“As a union that represents broadcast journalists, including many local St. Louis broadcasters, we strongly support the rights of journalists not to be impeded in their efforts to report the news. Journalists have an obligation to report what is happening in their community, and the world. We ask that law enforcement in Ferguson permit journalists the freedom to do their jobs,” the statement continued.
Last week, reporters from the Washington Post and the Huffington Post were arrested while covering the protests. The two alleged that they were assaulted by police officers during the arrests.
An Al Jazeera America news crew covering the protests has also accused police in Ferguson of firing rubber bullets and tear gas toward reporters.