Following a night of heavy protests in Ferguson, Missouri over the death of teenager Michael Brown, the Federal Aviation Administration imposed a no-fly zone over the St. Louis suburb. The reason cited by the FAA for the ban on low flying aircraft—anything up to 3,000 feet—is “to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities.”
The shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer has sparked outrage in the community. On Monday night, tensions hit a new level as protestors were cleared by riot police with tear gas. According to the St. Louis police department, police helicopters were fired on, causing the FAA to clear the skies. Here’s more on the ban from NBC News:
“On Sunday night our police helicopter came under fire on 3 or 4 occasions, so we requested that the FAA put up a no-fly zone for the safety of pilots who would be in the area,” St. Louis County Police Department Officer Brian Schellman told NBC News. The ban on flights is scheduled to last until Monday, Aug. 18.
No aircraft have been hit, but police chopper pilots did see shots fired from various locations during looting and riots that took place on Sunday night from about 10 p.m. to midnight, Schellman said. “We don’t know if it was a long gun or a handgun or what,” he said.
He denied that the move was to keep news helicopters from covering the scene.