Two reporters, Wesley Lowery from the Washington Post and Ryan Reilly from The Huffington Post, were arrested at a McDonald's in Ferguson, Mo., where they were covering protests surrounding the recent shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown by police there, The Huffington Post reports.
The reporters were working inside the restaurant when SWAT team members ordered everyone out and "roughed up" the reporters, the website reports. Reilly took a photo, prompting officers to ask to see his ID, and then the men were arrested.
Later saying the cops were acting "as a military force," Reilly said that one officer "used his finger to put a pressure point on my neck," and slammed Reilly's head against some glass while taking him out of the restaurant and sarcastically apologized for it.
Lowery also tweeted that during the arrest he saw a man screaming for help in the back of a police truck while officers mocked him.
Both reporters were released without being charged with any crime.
Washinton Post executive editor Marty Baron released a statement on Lowery's arrest:
The Huffington Post also released an official statement:
We are relieved Ryan Reilly and Wesley Lowery are safe, but we are disturbed by their arrest and assault.
Ryan was working on his laptop in a McDonald's near the protests in Ferguson, MO, when police barged in, armed with high-powered weapons, and began clearing the restaurant. Ryan photographed the intrusion, and police demanded his ID in response. Ryan, as is his right, declined to provide it. He proceeded to pack up his belongings, but was subsequently arrested for not packing up fast enough. Both Ryan and Wesley were assaulted.
Compared to some others who have come into contact with the police department, they came out relatively unscathed, but that in no way excuses the false arrest or the militant aggression toward these journalists. Ryan, who has reported multiple times from Guantanamo Bay, said that the police resembled soldiers more than officers, and treated those inside the McDonald's as "enemy combatants." Police militarization has been among the most consequential and unnoticed developments of our time, and it is now beginning to affect press freedom.
Earlier this morning police asked protesters to end their protests before nightfall, in the wake of three previous nights of confrontations, looting and another shooting that took place in the St. Louis suburb.
Things seem to be hitting the fan for a fourth night, with multiple reports on social media of rubber bullets and tear gas being fired.
You can read the police department's most recent statement about the death of Michael Brown here.
UPDATE: Wesley Lowery's video from the arrest has been released:
[Via Huffington Post, Twitter]