Reporters arrested in Ferguson
By DYLAN BYERS | 8/13/14 8:53 PM EDT
Reporters from The Washington Post and the Huffington Post were arrested in Ferguson, Mo., on Wednesday night while covering the protests that have rocked the St. Louis suburb.
Wesley Lowery, a Washington Post political reporter, and Ryan Reilly, a Huffington Post justice reporter, were arrested in a McDonalds shortly before 8 p.m. ET. Police entered the restaurant and told patrons there to leave, the reporters wrote on Twitter after their release. The police then asked Lowery and Reilly for their identification and, according to the reporters, arrested them because they weren't packing their bags fast enough.
Lowery also said the police officers "assaulted" him. "Officers slammed me into a fountain soda machine because I was confused about which door they were asking me to walk out of," he wrote on Twitter. Lowery also said that he and Reilly were released without paperwork or charges, and that the officers refused to provide the reporters with their names.
Ferguson has been the site of protests since the death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African-American who was shot several times by an officer. The chief of police there has refused to disclose the identity of the officer in question, citing safety concerns. According to The Associated Press, the officer "has received numerous death threats, and the chief worries that disclosing his name would endanger [him]."
Both Lowery and Reilly have not responded to requests for email.
In a statement, the Huffington Post said Reilly "was arrested Wednesday while covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri surrounding the death of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown, who was shot to death by a police officer last week."
"Reilly tweeted at around 8:00 P.M. EDT that SWAT officers invaded the McDonald's at which he was working, requesting his identification after he took a photo of them," the statement erad. "The Washington Post's Wesley Lowery was also working at the fast food restaurant."
Marty Baron, the executive editor of The Washington Post, referred POLITICO to Lowery's tweets.
Reached by phone, an operator for the Ferguson Police Department would neither confirm nor deny Lowery and Reilly's arrest.
"I have no information," the operator said several times.