A Washington Post reporter and a Huffington Post reporter were arrested Wednesday night in Ferguson, Mo., where they were covering the civil unrest sparked by the police shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
Reporters, Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post, and Ryan Reilly of Huffington Post, were covering the protests from a local McDonalds restaurant when police, some in regular uniforms and others in SWAT gear carrying assault weapons, stormed the eatery and demanded all media disperse.
According to a Washington Post report, police demanded the reporters leave, and although the journalists complied and were in the process of leaving, officers arrested them.
The Post report goes on to say:
Lowery was directed to leave through one door, and then told to go through another, at which point his bag fell off of his shoulder.
“‘Okay, let’s take him,’” one of the officers said, according to Lowery.
Lowery said that at this point,he wasslammed against a soda machine and plastic cuffs were placed on his wrists. He wastrying to make it clear he was not resisting arrest, but it did not appear the officers believed him.
Lowery said he was "more afraid than the tear gas and rubber bullets, more afraid during the riot police. Iknow of too many instances where someone who was not resisting arrest was assaulted or killed."
Police allegedly used unnecessary force
In a Huffington Post report, Reilly said he snapped a photo, prompting police to ask him for identification.
"The officer in question, who I repeatedly later asked for his name, grabbed my things and shoved them into my bag," said Reilly, who appeared on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes" shortly after his release. "He used his finger to put a pressure point on my neck."
"They essentially acted as a military force. It was incredible," Reilly said. "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."
Shortly after arriving at a holding cell, the journalists were told that all media members could leave without any charges being filed, according to the Washington Post report.
Lowery said he was denied the name and badge number of involved officers. Both media outlets claim to have reached out to the Ferguson Police Department for comment, and were both denied.
The Washington Post's executive editor Martin D. Baron called the arrests "holly unwarranted and an assault on the freedom of the press to cover the news" and said “The physical risk to Wesley himself is obvious and outrageous.”
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