The Ferguson no-fly zone, implemented to restrict 37 square miles of airspace around Ferguson following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown,was designed to keep the press out, phone recordings obtained by AP via the Freedom of Information Act reveal.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) imposed a 12-day no-fly zone in compliance with requests from local police after protests erupted in response to the August 9th police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen. At the time, the official reason given for the restriction was safety precautions. However, in audio recordings, officials are heard admitting that the real reason for the flight restriction was to keep news helicopters from flying over the St. Louis suburb.
The St. Louis Police department maintained that the restricted fly zone was instituted in response to shots fired at a police helicopter, although they were not able to provide an incident report on the shooting, according to AP.
FAA air traffic controllers attempted to reword the flight ban, which had initially banned all air traffic in the 37-mile radius, to let commercial flights operate at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, but prohibit other flights, on August 12th, the day after the restriction was first established, reports RT
Effectively putting an end to media presence in the skies, the amended restriction read, “Only relief aircraft operations under direction of St. Louis County Police Department are authorized in the airspace. Aircraft landing and departing St. Louis Lambert Airport are exempt.”
An FAA manger was recorded saying that the police “did not care if you ran commercial traffic through this TFR (temporary flight restriction) all day long. They didn’t want media in there.”