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Trey Yingst Statement on Civil Lawsuit Against St. Louis County

I am pleased to announce that all charges have been dropped surrounding my arrest in Ferguson last November as part of a civil lawsuit settlement. In addition, St. Louis County is giving me $8,500 and agreeing not to oppose a record expungement request as part of the settlement. With a portion of that money, I plan to pay my attorneys and travel costs. I will be donating the remainder of the settlement to a scholarship fund for high school students from Ferguson looking to study journalism in college. I would like to thank the ACLU of Missouri for their tremendous work in serving as my legal counsel and protecting the constitutional rights of the American people. The efforts of Tony Rothert, Andy McNulty, Gillian Wilcox and Jeffery Mittman were crucial to the outcome of my case.

Journalists should never have to work under fear of arrest for simply doing their job. I hope that my arrest can serve as an opportunity for police departments across the country to reflect on the treatment of media. Exercising First Amendment rights remains a crucial part of American society, holding members of law enforcement and the general public accountable for their actions.

My arrest was disturbing on a number of levels. As a white member of the media I was arrested and taken to jail for standing on a sidewalk. I can only imagine the difficulties that black members of the Ferguson community face during their police interactions. When I received a copy of the police report, it was filled with lies to make me look guilty of crimes I didn’t commit. Dishonest police officers lead to a dishonest system. A dishonest system threatens the constitutional rights of every American. While these issues are systematic, my hope is that we can begin to have an open dialogue that sparks real change.