Bassem Masri, a protester in Ferguson, Missouri known for live streaming demonstrations in the area, was questioned by CNN’s Brian Stetler on Sunday about his confrontational tactics with not only media outlets like CNN but also law enforcement.
Masri and other Ferguson protesters shouted down CNN reporter Sarah Sidner during a live broadcast last month, forcing the news desk to cut the segment short.
Masri’s reaction toward Sidner on Sunday was far different than it was a month ago. After a clip of Masri and others yelling at Sidner aired, he responded, “Now Sarah, she’s a great reporter. It was nothing personal against her, but you know, it was against the whole entity of the mainstream media.”
Masri continued, “We’re not going for that no more. As a citizen journalist we have a duty to let people know that if there’s a problem with stuff, then we’re going to address it from now on. We’re not going to be just laying back and letting anybody paint whatever narrative they want when it comes to our community.”
At one point Stetler asked Masri if his intention is to simply provoke a reaction from law enforcement by screaming threats at them and played clips of Masri yelling at police officers during protests calling them names like “pig” and “coward.”
In one particular clip Masri says to an officer, “Your life is in danger, homie! You better go!” He also screamed at other cops, “I’m praying for your death! I’m praying for your death and your death and your death!”
Masri fidgeted as he responded: “I’m just a citizen, you know? I’m a citizen journalist—whatever you want to call me. I didn’t ask for none of this. When I put my live stream up, I do it to protect us and whoever is watching is observing. You know what I’m saying? I don’t mean any of that stuff that I said and we’re not trying to provoke violence.”
He added, “Nothing like that happened. If they were to actually go and watch that live stream, me—myself, I have stopped a couple of things from happening. I try to keep the people tense and the focus on the police.”