Two reporters say they were assaulted and arrested while covering the unrest in a Missouri suburb where an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by police officers over the weekend.
According to a tweet sent out by The Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly, he and the Washington Post's Wesley Lowery were arrested for "not packing their bags quick enough" after officers swarmed a McDonalds and demanded everyone leave.
SWAT just invade McDonald's where I'm working/recharging. Asked for ID when I took photo. pic.twitter.com/FOIsMnBwHy— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 13, 2014
"Officers decided we weren't leaving McDonald's quickly enough, shouldn't have been taping them," Lowery tweeted, adding the two were "released without any charges, no paperwork whatsoever."
Officers decided we weren't leaving McDonalds quickly enough, shouldn't have been taping them.— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery)August 14, 2014
Released without any charges, no paperwork whatsoever— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 14, 2014
Got no explaination at any point why in custody other than "trespassing" - at a mcdonalds where we were customers— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 14, 2014
Lowery said police also assaulted both of them. The two reporters were using the McDonald's as a hub to publish live-updates to social media about the unrest in Ferguson.
"Officers slammed me into a fountain soda machine because I was confused about which door they were asking me to walk out of," he said.
Officers slammed me into a fountain soda machine because I was confused about which door they were asking me to walk out of— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 14, 2014
The Ferguson Police Department did not immediately respond to TheBlaze's request for comment Wednesday evening.
Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce spoke with the Ferguson police chief who initially responded, "Oh, God" when he learned about the arrest of the two reporters.
The police chief later told him the officers responsible were "probably somebody who didn't know better" and the he instructed cops "to release them."
I just talked to the Ferguson chief again about Wes and Ryan. "I told them to release them," he said of the riot command.— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 14, 2014
Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron released a statement on the incident.
"Wesley has briefed us on what occurred, and there was absolutely no justification for his arrest," Baron said.
"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," he continued. "That behavior was wholly unwarranted and an assault on the freedom of press to cover the news. The physical risk to Wesley himself is obvious and outrageous."
[sharequote="center"]"That behavior was wholly unwarranted and an assault on the freedom of press to cover the news.[/sharequote]
"After being placed in a holding cell, he was released with no charges and no explanation. He was denied information about the names and badge numbers of those who arrested him," Baron concluded. "We are relieved that Wesley is going to be OK. We are appalled by the conduct of police officers involved."
This post has been updated.
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