Four journalists arrested during last summer's Ferguson protests over the shooting death of Michael Brown filed a federal lawsuit Monday against St. Louis County police and 20 of its officers, accusing them of violating the reporters' civil rights and unjustifiably detaining them, reports the Associated Press.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in St. Louis, alleges the arrests for the journalists' failure to disperse as demanded by police on Aug. 18 and Aug. 19 were "undertaken with the intention of obstructing, chilling, deterring, and retaliating against (the) plaintiffs for engaging in constitutionally protected speech, newsgathering and recording of police activities."

The plaintiffs include Ryan Devereaux of The Intercept online investigative publication, as well as Ansgar Graw — a correspondent with the conservative German daily Die Welt — and reporter Frank Herrmann, who writes for German regional papers. The other plaintiff is freelance journalist Lukas Hermsmeier.

The lawsuit, which identifies the journalists as U.S. citizens and says they spent hours in custody, seeks unspecified damages and a court order barring county police from future alleged infringements of media access "to policing activities."

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