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AP: No-Fly Zone In Ferguson Meant To Keep Media Out

Updated at 11:55 a.m. ET on Nov. 3.

St. Louis County Police requested a no-fly zone around Ferguson, Mo., this summer, for what they called "the safety of pilots who would be in the area." But according to The Associated Press, audio recordings reveal local officials privately acknowledging that the no-fly zone was actually targeting news helicopters.

The Federal Aviation Administration approved the police request, and the no-fly zone was enacted over approximately 37 square miles of airspace. It was in place for 12 days this August, during the period of civil unrest following the shooting of Michael Brown.

The AP reports:

" 'They finally admitted it really was to keep the media out,' said one FAA manager about the St. Louis County Police in a series of recorded telephone conversations obtained by The Associated Press. 'But they were a little concerned of, obviously, anything else that could be going on.' "

"At another point, a manager at the FAA's Kansas City center said 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."

The AP obtained the recordings under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

You can read the full story here.

Asked about the no-fly zone reports, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said during a news conference Monday that he was not aware of any Justice Department involvement, nor was he aware of the nature of any request from Ferguson police and how it impacted news coverage.

"But what I will say is that transparency I think is always a good thing," Holder said. "The American people need to understand what is happening in Ferguson."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.

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