Two National Reporters Arrested While Covering Ferguson Protests


Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly and Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery were arrested last night while covering the protests in Ferguson, Mo., after the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, who was shot by a police officer last weekend. The journalists were released unharmed, but their detentions highlighted the town’s ramped up police presence, which has left numerous residents injured by rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas during protests held every night after Brown’s death, reports the Huffington Post. SWAT officers roughed up the reporters inside a McDonald’s, where both journalists were working. Reilly snapped a photo, prompting cops to request his identification. “The officer in question, who I repeatedly later asked for his name, grabbed my things and shoved them into my bag,” said Reilly. “He used his finger to put a pressure point on my neck… The worst part was he slammed my head against the glass purposefully on the way out of McDonald’s and then sarcastically apologized for it.”

Reilly said he can’t be “100 percent sure” whether the officer was aware that he’s a reporter, “but that really shouldn’t matter in this equation.” Reilly believes he was arrested because he declined to present the officer his identification. On the arrest of Lowery, Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron said, “There was absolutely no justification for his arrest. He was illegally instructed to stop taking video of officers. Then he followed officers' instructions to leave a McDonald's — and after contradictory instructions on how to exit, he was slammed against a soda machine and then handcuffed. That behavior was wholly unwarranted and an assault on the freedom of the press to cover the news. The physical risk to Wesley himself is obvious and outrageous.”

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