U.S. approved Ferguson no-fly area to block media

Monday, November 3, 2014
By Paul Martin

USAToday.com
November 2, 2014

After 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in August, the Federal Aviation Administration agreed to a police request to ban air traffic in more than 37 square miles of airspace surrounding the town for 12 days, even though police privately acknowledged the purpose was to keep away news helicopters during violent street protests, according to recorded conversations obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act.

The FAA records official phone conversations at its air traffic facilities, a policy that is known to employees. The initial flight restrictions hindered planes from landing at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport unless they violated the no-fly order. The recordings show FAA officials seeking police agreement the next morning to change the designation of the restricted area to allow air traffic into Lambert and then struggling with the wording of the no-fly order in an effort to prevent media from entering of the restricted area.

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