Anonymous Posts St. Louis Police Dispatch Tapes From Day of Ferguson Shooting

“We are switching over to the riot channel at this time.”


This was just posted by @theanonmessage, a twitter account affiliated with Anonymous’ Operation Ferguson, a member of which I interviewed last night. According to @theanonmessage, this recording contains audio excerpts from St. Louis County police dispatch over several hours on August 9, 2014, the day Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer. The dispatcher starts talking about the Brown shooting around the 10-minute mark, while intermittently handling other calls. See below the recording for an updating list of interesting moments, with time stamps included.

If you want to try to decipher the dispatch codes, here’s a dictionary for that.

9:35: “Ferguson is asking for assistance with crowd control . . .”

10:58: “Now they have a large group gathering there, she doesn’t know any further. . .”

11:20: “We just got another call stating it was an officer-involved shooting . . .”

11:30: “Be advised, this information came from the news . . .”

11:55: “We’re just getting information from the news and we just called Ferguson back again and they don’t know anything about it . . .”

20:00: “. . .destruction of property . . .”

21:55: “They are requesting more cars. Do you want me to send more of your cars?”

43:55: “Attention all cars, be advised that in reference to the call 2947 Canfield Drive, we are switching over to the riot channel at this time . . .”

Update, 4:40 p.m. ET: I tried to verify the dispatch recordings with St. Louis County Police but their media contact, Brian Shelman, did not answer the phone and his voicemail was full.

Update 2, 5:05 p.m. ET: Mashable is confirming that the St. Louis County Police Department is “aware of this and currently investigating.”

Update 3, 6:05 p.m. ET: A twitter follower of mine points out that the dispatch recording probably comes from Broadcastify, a database of public safety radio audio streams that’s available to anyone who pays for a subscription. It’s “far from a hack,” he says.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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