KMOV-TV News Director Brian Thouvenot is getting a lot of media attention today, for his decision to buy 10 gas masks for his news staff. Photographers and reporters have been covering the situation in Ferguson, Missouri non-stop since August 9, when 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer. Protests have happened for the last several nights, with a large police and military presence. There have been numerous arrests and several injuries.
Thouvenot, an Illinois State University graduate, sent his staff the following memo about the gas mask purchase:
From: Brian Thouvenot
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2014
To: KMOV News
Subject: Gas masks on order
Didn’t think this would be an order placed in my time as news director, let alone the first year.
However, due to the frequent use of tear gas in Ferguson to disperse crowds I have ordered 10 gas masks. I want them with Reporters/Photographers using the Live U’s for the most part.
Despite having a gas mask, do not feel like you can act in a manner that puts you in harm’s way. This is for protection purposes only and I hope they do not have to be used.
Your safety is always the top priority.
News Director KMOV TV