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Two journalists arrested in Ferguson, for ‘trespassing’ inside McDonald’s

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wapo 1(CNN) — Two journalists covering civil unrest following a fatal shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, said they were briefly arrested Wednesday night inside a McDonald’s in the community.

Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post and Ryan J. Reilly of The Huffington Post said on Twitter that they were arrested while they were doing work and then released within roughly 45 minutes. Neither was charged.

“This was very unnecessary,” Lowery said in a telephone interview. He said he was never told why he and Reilly were detained, except that they were “trespassing” by being inside the fast-food restaurant.

Lowery recorded a portion of his interaction with an officer inside the McDonald’s. In the video, which was published on The Washington Post’s Web site, an officer is heard demanding that he “stop videotaping.”

Citizens and professional journalists generally have the right to record police activities.

Lowery emphasized that he did not want his arrest to overshadow the ongoing protests in Ferguson or the treatment of the protesters. “I want this to be about the community,” he said. “But this arrest is in some ways an anecdote of what’s going on here.”

The arrests came amid an already-tense situation between journalists and the authorities in Ferguson, the site of last Saturday’s police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old, Michael Brown.

There have been several reports of reporters and the camera crews being told to leave protest areas, but no reported arrests until Wednesday.

Martin Baron, the executive editor of The Washington Post, said in a statement Wednesday night that “there was absolutely no justification” for Lowery’s arrest.

Baron noted that the reporter 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.”

Lowery said the arresting officers refused to provide their names.

Shortly before the arrest, Lowery had written on Twitter, “Police come into McD where me and @ryanjreilly working. Try to kick everyone out.” Reilly had posted a picture of what he called “SWAT” inside the fast-food restaurant.

“Asked for ID when I took photo,” Reilly wrote.

CNN reached out to Ferguson police but was not able to obtain immediate comment.

™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserve


  • Mnyama B. Black

    CNN? How will you reach out to the town? They ain’t go no internet! What are you going to do? Use cans and string???

  • buzz

    A wapo and huffpo reporters left wingers and a conservative dream to see these to idiots locked up but then released 6 hours later. These 2 clowns should have never been in the area to begin with.

  • MamaBear

    Let Al and Jesse talk to the looters who are protesting. I’m sure these law abiding citizens will listen to them. The police are there to protect the businesses that have not been looted. Better yet let Obama go there amongst these non violent law abiding citizens and give his famous hope and change speech. That will stop all this chaos and settle things down. Tell me how these reporters are helping these people who live there? Same thing happened during Katrina. People are upset and want answers. The bias media only fuels more chaos and violence. I feel sorry for the residents who live there. It’s their community that is being destroyed by outsiders.

  • manalishi

    Cry me a river. The mainstream media and liberals in stereotypical form have fully supported the militarization of state local and federal police. Now they whine when it negatively affects them. this is the same trash that wants gun control,,,,why?

    • See

      Yet another covert, subversive operation at local, state, and federal levels, with weapons and equipment furnished by…The Democratic Federal Administration… for Domestic use…
      deliberately against the US Constitution, and Citizens.
      New Undeclared Federal mission purpose appears to be as gun runners, weapons dealers, and human traffickers to the World, FREE, to everyone but Tax Payers. Anarchy.

  • See

    Seems battle lines have been drawn in this conflict.
    Videos and reporting are deliberated slanted to one-way coverage. Clearly depicted to only highlight the police; not the angry, violent, lawless Mobs requiring police actions. Seems clearly
    transparent that is yet another set up and staged, highly frenzied political agenda campaign.
    It is being force fed to mold, shape, contort and manipulate and control public opinion and attitudes. Mission Purpose is to stir, agitate, and incite already high pitched emotions to provoke the intended outcome; chaos, turmoil and conflict.

  • Johnnie G

    Gestapo racist police in Missouri. They started off shooting an innocent teenager and now compound the problem by roughing up 2 reporters (how dare they report on our fine town).
    I can understand the frustration of the African American citizens, apparently, the Police often used a heavy hand against them.

    • manalishi

      How innocent was Brown? Until I hear why he was interacting with the cops, I’n not giving him more status than the cop that shot him. Does Brown JR have a recent record?

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