FAA bans low-flying aircraft over Ferguson


A makeshift memorial on Aug. 12, near where teenager Michael Brown was shot to death by police in Ferguson, Mo., over the weekend. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

The tense situation in Ferguson has extended to the skies above Missouri. The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday that it had banned flights from operating below 3,000 feet over Ferguson, Mo., at the request of county police.

This notice says it was issued “to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities.”

The temporary restrictions were implemented at the request of the St. Louis County Police Department. Police asked for these restrictions Monday because their helicopter was shot at “multiple times on Sunday night,” Brian Schellman, a spokesman for the police, said in an e-mail to The Post.

Following protests Sunday, some began looting stores around the Ferguson area, leaving a trail of debris in their wake. More than 30 people were arrested.

The day after a police officer shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, demonstrators held a rally and vigil in Ferguson, Mo. Looting followed. (Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post)

Police in St. Louis wanted the restrictions put in place “for the safety of those flying,” Schellman said.

There are various instances when such temporary flight restrictions could be implemented at the request of law enforcement groups. One rationale for the FAA in issuing such restrictions over hazard areas is to protect people in the air “from an existing or imminent hazard,” according to the FAA’s site.

These restrictions are likely to impact news helicopters, which typically fly under 3,000 feet.

Several other notices were issued Tuesday, including some aimed at clearing the airspace over California, Oregon and Montana for firefighting operations.

The notice was issued Tuesday and lasts through Monday.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.

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Mark Berman · August 12, 2014