Ferguson, Uncensored: Scott Olson’s Photos From Missouri – Rolling Stone
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Ferguson, Uncensored

The images the police on the ground don’t want you to see

Ferguson man holds hands in the air.

People wait for reaction from police after they refused to honor the midnight curfew on August 17th, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

The killing of unarmed 18-year-old Michael "Mike Mike" Brown — shot twice in the head by police officer Darren Wilson — has transformed Ferguson, Missouri, from a sleepy St. Louis suburb into a powder keg. 

Citizens voicing righteous grievance about racial injustice and police violence have been met with a horrifying, militarized police response. Unarmed protestors decrying the death of an unarmed black teenager have been ordered to shut up and stand down by white police officers targeting them through the scopes of sniper rifles. 

These police — unwilling to accept that they, themselves, are a legitimate target of protest — have barraged protestors with tear gas, rubber bullets, and sonic cannons, fired from war vehicles that have no justification on civilian streets. 

In a vicious circle, legitimate protest of police violence has been met by violent police overreaction. This has, in turn, attracted criminal elements, provocateurs, and looters to the streets of Ferguson — sparking greater police escalation, and even leading Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to deploy the National Guard.

Police in Ferguson are not simply trampling the first amendment freedoms of protestors. They are also punishing journalists who seek to document the events on the ground. On Monday, Ferguson police arrested Getty Photographer Scott Olson for straying a few feet from a "media staging area" where police have attempted to corral journalists to prevent them from doing their jobs. "The police have made conscious decisions to restrict information and images coming from Ferguson," said David Boardman, president of the American Society of News Editors. Olson was later released without charge. 

What is it that the don't the cops in Ferguson want you to see? 

This photo essay of Olson's finest work from the past week, including last night after his release, captures the grit, hope, and horror of life on the restive streets of Ferguson.

Community members sitting in church.

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 11: : : : Guests listen to speakers during at a town hall meeting hosted by the St. Louis County NAACP at Murchison Tabernacle Church to discuss the killing of 18-year-old Mike Brown and the community unrest that followed his death on August 11, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. Brown, who was reported to be unarmed, was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in suburban Ferguson, Missouri. Yesterday 32 arrests were made after protests over the shooting turned into rioting and looting in Ferguson. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Murchison Tabernacle Church

Guests listen to speakers during at a town hall meeting hosted by the St. Louis County NAACP at Murchison Tabernacle Church to discuss the killing of 18-year-old Mike Brown on August 11th, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Man yells into megaphone while men hold signs and hold their hands up.

FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Scott Olson/Getty Images

In Search of Justice

Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12th, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

Man holds up a Pan-African flag.

FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators hold up a Pan-African flag to protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Flag of Protest

Demonstrators hold up a Pan-African flag to protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12th, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

Lesley McSpadden holds her hands up at church.

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Lesley McSpadden (L), the mother of slain teenager Michael Brown joins a capacity crowd of guests at Greater St. Marks Family Church to discuss the killing of her son and the civil unrest resulting from his death on August 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight the town remained mostly peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Lesley McSpadden

Lesley McSpadden, the mother of slain teenager Michael Brown, at Greater St. Marks Family Church on August 12th, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri.

A woman holding a baby walks away from the police.

FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: A demonstrator, protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, walks away after being ordered off the street by police on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Turned Away

A demonstrator, protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, walks away after being ordered off the street by police on August 13th, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

Police officer holds and aims a rifle.

FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: A police officer keeps watch over demonstrators protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Armed Force

A police officer watching over demonstrators protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown on August 13th, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

Police officers march towards man holding his hands up.

FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: Police force protestors from the business district into nearby neighborhoods on August 11, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets as residents and their supporters protested the shooting by police of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown who was killed Saturday in this suburban St. Louis community. Yesterday 32 arrests were made after protests turned into rioting and looting in Ferguson. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Hands Up, Don’t Shoot

Police force protestors from the business district into nearby neighborhoods on August 11th, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

A little girl holds a rag to her face.

FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: A child uses a rag to shield her face from tear gas being fired by police who used it to force protestors from the business district into nearby neighborhoods on August 11, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets as residents and their supporters protested the shooting by police of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown who was killed Saturday in this suburban St. Louis community. Yesterday 32 arrests were made after protests turned into rioting and looting in Ferguson. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Scott Olson/Getty Images

No Tears

A child uses a rag to shield her face from tear gas being fired by police on August 11th, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

Capt. Ronald Johnson holds a megaphone while listening to someone speaking.

FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Congressman Lacy Clay (D-MO) (L) and Capt. Ronald Johnson (C) of the Missouri State Highway Patrol speak to demonstrators gathered along West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting of Michael Brown on August 15, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9. Tonight's demonstration again ended with protestors clashing with police followed by more looting. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Congressman and the Captain

Congressman Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Capt. Ronald Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol speak to demonstrators on August 15th, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

A demonstrators throws a grenade back at police.

FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: A demonstrator throws a grenade back at police after a brief clash on August 15, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police sprayed pepper spray, shot smoke, gas and flash grenades at protestors before retreating. Several businesses were looted following the skirmish as police held there position nearby. Violent outbreaks have taken place in Ferguson since the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on August 9. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Smoke in the Streets

A demonstrator throws an explosive back at police after a brief clash on August 15th, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

Two women cleaning up trash in a looted store.

FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 16: Voluteers help the owners of Sam's Meat Market clean up after their business was looted during another night of rioting following protests over the shooting death of Michael Brown on August 16, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Looters ransacked several businesses for several hours as police held a position nearby with military grade weapons and armored personnel carriers (APC). Violent outbreaks have taken place almost nightly in Ferguson since the shooting death of Brown by a Ferguson police officer on August 9. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Sam’s Meat Market

Volunteers help the owners of Sam's Meat Market clean up after their business was looted on August 16th, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

A woman tilts her head back as another woman pours water over her eyes and face.

FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 17: A woman gets help as she tries to recover from a tear gas attack by police who attacked demonstrators protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 17, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police shot smoke and tear gas into the crowd of several hundred as they advanced near the police command center which has been set up in a shopping mall parking lot. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9. Despite the Brown family's continued call for peaceful demonstrations, violent protests have erupted nearly every night in Ferguson since his death. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Under Attack

A woman gets help as she tries to recover from a tear gas attack by police on August 17th, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

Police line up holding rifles and wearing gas masks.

FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 18: Police attempt to control demonstrators protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 18, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police shot smoke and tear gas to disperse the protestors with as they became unruly. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9. Despite the Brown family's continued call for peaceful demonstrations, violent protests have erupted nearly every night in Ferguson since his death. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Masked

Police clamping down on demonstrators protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 18th, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

A man wears a gasmask on the street.

FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 18: A demonstrator protects himself from tear gas during a protest over the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 18, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9. Despite the Brown family's continued call for peaceful demonstrations, violent protests have erupted nearly every night in Ferguson since his death. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Protected

A demonstrator protects himself from tear gas during a protest over the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 18th, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

Two police officers arrest a photographer and lead him to a van.

FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 18: 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 on August 18, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Protesters have been vocal asking for justice in the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on August 9th. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Under Arrest

Getty Images staff photographer Scott Olson is arrested by police as he covers the demonstration following the shooting death of Michael Brown on August 18th, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

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