A Washington Post reporter who was arrested at a restaurant last year while reporting on protests in Ferguson, Mo., has been charged in St. Louis County with trespassing and interfering with a police officer and ordered to appear in court. The Post says that Wesley Lowery, a reporter on its national desk, was detained in a McDonald's while he was covering demonstrations prompted by a white police officer fatally shooting an unarmed black 18-year-old, Michael Brown.
A court summons dated Aug. 6, nearly a year after Lowery's arrest, was sent to Lowery, 25, ordering him to appear in a St. Louis County municipal court on Aug. 24. The summons notes that he could be arrested if he does not appear. “Charging a reporter with trespassing and interfering with a police officer when he was just doing his job is outrageous,” said Martin Baron, executive editor of The Post. “You'd have thought law enforcement authorities would have come to their senses about this incident. Wes Lowery should never have been arrested in the first place. That was an abuse of police authority. This latest action represents contemptible overreaching by prosecutors who seem to have no regard for the role of journalists seeking to cover a major story and following normal practice.” Ryan Reilly, a reporter for the Huffington Post, will face similar charges over the same incident, St. Louis County officials said.