Freelance Reports Working for Chinese Network Xinhua Get Carjacked at Gunpoint, Robbed in Ferguson

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Freelance reporters filing reports for Chinese network Xinhua News Agency were preparing to produce a segment at the Canfield Drive memorial at the site of Michael Brown’s killing by police officer Darren Wilson when the were attacked by a large group of men wearing masks and carrying guns.

Freelancer Emily Molli, working for Chinese network Xinhua News Agency, said she was standing behind the camera while her colleague Marcus DiPaola was filming.

The group of 15 to 20 males displayed guns and hammers as they approached.


The gang got closer and Emily heard some of them say ‘Turn the camera off, turn the camera off,” Molli told Daily River Front Times of St. Louis. “They came sort of at us and tried to grab the camera.” Molli, DiPaola, and the videographer said the men followed them, yelling. The news reporters managed to make it inside their Prius but the group caught up with them and began smashing the windows.

“One guy pulled [the car door] back open, got a gun out of his backpack and pointed it at my head. He tells me to get out of the car and give me the keys. That’s what I did.”

— Emily Molli

The gang robbed the reporters of a large professional-grade video camera, the car keys, and their wallets.

A church group delivering turkeys in the neighborhood rescued the reporters, but DiPaola’s Toyota Prius was destroyed when the gang torched the car. Inside was a Kevlar bullet-proof vest and a $5000 camera lense. Initially, DiPaola was not sure if the vest was removed from the car and in the hands of bad guys before it was torched. Later he found the vest destroyed inside the burned out car.

Journalists have had a rough time in Ferguson, Missouri
since covering the the Michael Brown shooting
on August 9, 2014.

 AUGUST 2014 … 

In August 2014, there were several reports of journalists being harassed by police. Tear gas landed at the feet of an al-Jazeera America new crew, a journalist was arrested in a McDonald’s while using the Wi-Fi connection, and numerous other journalists were ordered to stop filming or were ordered harshly to leave the area.

Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery was detained by police on Wednesday while reporting on the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., following the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown by police over the weekend.

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