Out CNN on-air personality Don Lemon has spoken out strongly about the clashes between protesters and police in Ferguson, Mo., last week, saying racism is evident in the interactions and in the killing that set off the situation.
"This is about people not realizing that there is a double standard, that people live in a different world,” Lemon said last week in his coverage of the uproar over the fatal shooting by a white police officer of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb. "And, quite frankly, [there is a need] for white people to realize that black people, especially black men, are treated differently. It is a double standard. Until people realize that, nothing is going to change. Nothing is going to happen."
Reporting from Ferguson yesterday, Lemon was pushed back into the crowd by police, who said they were enforcing crowd control measures. As the incident was happening, Lemon said on-air that he was being forced out of the area where he and his crew had been told to stay, and had been throughout the day.
There have also been other reports of police harassment and mistreatment of journalists trying to do their jobs. Getty Images photographer Scott Olson told journalist Amy K. Nelson that he was arrested because “media are supposed to be in a certain area.” Olson was released from custody that evening.
Two other journalists, Wesley Lowrey of The Washington Post and Ryan J. Reilly of The Huffington Post, were arrested last week as they worked on their laptops in a Ferguson McDonald’s, but were released within an hour. MSNBC host Chris Hayes was audibly threatened with mace by a police officer as he was broadcasting live on Monday.
Speaking with The Huffington Post Monday, Lemon said some of the police in Ferguson eyed him suspiciously at first. "There's a difference between someone who gets it, like Captain [Ron] Johnson [of the Missouri State Highway Patrol] ... [and how] local police departments operate and treat people, not only African-Africans, but most people — as if they are immediately in a position of power to do whatever they want to do with you," Lemon said.
Watch Don Lemon’s confrontation with police in Ferguson below, courtesy of CNN: