Student livestreams Ferguson chaos despite tear gas, rubber bullets
Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, August 21, 2014 10:05AM EDT
Despite being hit with tear gas and rubber bullets and having his camera equipment damaged, a local political science student is committed to streaming live, unedited footage of the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.
Mustafa Hussein, the operator of the Argus Radio Livestream channel, has been hit with tear gas three times and shot with two rubber bullets. He also appeared to have been threatened by a police officer in video that was widely circulated online.
In the video, a man who cannot be seen but is reportedly a police officer holding a weapon, yells an expletive before telling Hussein to “get that light off or you’re getting shot with this.”
But the 38-year-old master’s student is not concerned about his own safety, and has remained on the streets of Ferguson for the past 11 days to document the protests and the police response.
“I was more worried about my camera equipment,” Hussein told CTV’s Canada AM in a telephone interview Thursday morning.
“I’ve had several pieces of equipment damaged, but for the most part I haven’t been too worried about my safety. There’s been a couple of tense moments. I’ve had an officer threaten to shoot me if I didn’t shut off my camera.”
More than one million viewers tuned into Hussein’s livestream on the first night he broadcast from Ferguson. He says he initially bought the equipment to record concerts by local independent artists, who could stream the shows on their websites.
But the protests in the wake of the police shooting death of Michael Brown began unfolding just as he was unpacking the equipment.
“So I said ‘let’s get one together, I’m going to go up there,’” Hussein, who lives in nearby Maplewood, told Canada AM.
Viewers who have sent him messages have told him that they appreciate watching an unedited, first-hand account of what he is seeing Hussein has no formal journalism training.
“Many people have been very grateful that I haven’t tried to pick a political side or put an agenda behind my documentation,” he said.
He says the reaction to his work is “humbling.”
“What I set out to do is exactly what’s happened, and that was to show the world unedited what was going on in Ferguson,” Hussein said.
“Because we have a longstanding history of this institutional racism in the United States, where crimes against black men go undocumented properly.”