HomeBreaking NewsBreaking: SWAT Arrests Huffpo and WashPo Reporters in Ferguson, MO and Hauls Them off to Jail

Breaking: SWAT Arrests Huffpo and WashPo Reporters in Ferguson, MO and Hauls Them off to Jail

Protests continued their aggressive presence in Ferguson, Missouri Wednesday, where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by police on Saturday.

The situation has been volatile, with a few instances of looting, but the protests have largely been peaceful. You wouldn’t know that from looking at the pictures of the police, though.

Here’s how the day unfolded via the Twitter feeds of two journalists — Ryan J. Reilly from Huffington Post and Wesley Lowery from The Washington Post.

Overkill in #Ferguson. Officer won't answer my question about why this is needed.

These guys look like they are ready for war.


"This is not open for discussion." -- cop on loudspeaker, telling crowd to leave the area

Is that a 50mm?

I counted 70+ SWAT officers. Guns trained on crowds. Insanity.

What the hell? Is this really necessary?

Ryan J. Reilly of Huffington Post is in Ferguson, covering the story as it unfolds. He and a fellow journalist, Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post, were at a McDonald’s in Ferguson on Wednesday afternoon when SWAT team members “invaded.”

SWAT just invade McDonald's where I'm working/recharging. Asked for ID when I took photo.

SWAT in a McDonald’s. Really?


Police come into McD where me and @ryanjreilly working. Try to kick everyone out.

So sitting in a McDonald’s is now illegal?

Both journalists were asked for their IDs. Both were wearing their IDs around their necks. They were asked to leave the McDonald’s. Why? They weren’t told. The journalists were confused, asking why they were being arrested, wondering if they could get their car in the McDonald’s lot, trying to gather their things. Lowery Tweeted:

Officers decided we weren't leaving McDonalds quickly enough, shouldn't have been taping them./Also Ryan Reilly of Huff Po. Assaulted and arrested/Was arrested

Journalists treated like criminals.

And the SWAT team wasn’t nice about it, either:

Officers slammed me into a fountain soda machine because I was confused about which door they were asking me to walk out of

Well isn’t that special?

As they were waiting to be taken away, Lowery noted:

Was waiting to be taken away, large black man SCREAMING for help in back of police truck/They refused his several calls for paramedics/"I'm dying. I'm dying. Please call help he screamed." They mocked him

Police acting like common thugs.

The two journalists got hauled to the police station and booked. Then:

Released without any charges, no paperwork whatsoever/Refusing to give us any names of the officers

This is simply unacceptable.

Both Reilly and Lowery were arrested for “trespassing” in a public place. Where they were customers. When someone finally deigned to tell them… well…

"The chief thought he was doing you a favor" - police officer tells me about release. With no charges, no police report

They were also told that they were arrested for trespassing.

Both reporters were doing nothing more than their job. In fact, at the time of their arrest, they were recharging and relaxing at a McDonald’s. At freaking McDonald’s! Apparently, the SWAT officers of St. Louis County have never been taught about the Constitution.

In the aftermath, Wesley Lowery was upset. But not so much about being arrested. He told Rachel Maddow over the phone that he had been distracted fromk the real story by this. The real story being the search for justice in the killing of a young black man.

They both reassured friends and followers that they were fine, if somewhat shaken up:

It's as if the arrest and the assaults never took place. Just opened the doors and let is out as if we'd let it go/Apparently, in America, in 2014, police can manhandle you, take you into custody, put you in cell & then open the door like it didn't happen/Police now say there might be a report available to Ryan and I in "a week or two"/Really upset, and have conflicting emotions - but can't shake anger that (part) of story about my stupid detention and not about ferguson

This was a ludicrous action by law enforcement.

Thanks everyone for the messages, too much to reply to right now. But I'll be on MSNBC shortly. #Ferguson/One thing about being arrested in 2014 is that you don't remember any phone numbers./"We're sorry for treating you this way on Saint Louis." -- local newsman who just interviewed me. #Ferguson

Local reporters were apologetic. But none of them were arrested.


You can read the Twitter feed of Ryan J. Reilly and Wesley Lowery to get more on their coverage of the Ferguson situation.

The actions of law enforcement — the SWAT team, the military-grade weapons trained on protestors, the arrest of journalists — are unacceptable. The request to not protest after dark is ridiculous. The refusal to release autopsy results or the name of the officer who shot Brown fly in the face of legal precedent. Let’s hope that the Federal investigation can get things moving and find justice for the Brown family.

About Tery Steelman

Tery Steelman
A lifelong Liberal, Tery has been writing about politics for over 20 years, half of that time online. While she is a policy wonk and interested in all aspects of politics, she focuses on religion and marijuana law. Though she tries to keep it in check, her sarcasm often gets off of its leash. She enjoys reading, Prog Rock and etymology. "How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is, after all, so poorly lit..."
  • Earnest Marcum

    Obviously, SWAT did not want the real news to be overheard by the reporters and reported. That all of the actions being taken was/is to stir up the residents of the town, in order to instill fear and give a probable cause/way out for their murdering fellow officer that shot and murdered an unarmed man. The officer that murdered the unarmed man, stated that, “he was unaware that the man he shot dead was involved in a robbery prior to his shooting him”! Blitzing the news and internet about the robbery taking place has NO place or bearing and is no part of the fact that the man was murdered by a Police Officer that had NO prior knowledge of his being involved in anything other than walking in the street! Either the murdering Police Officer is sentenced to Life-in-Prison without the possibility of parole or violence will erupt across the United States with the likes that have not been seen since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was murdered in Memphis, TN, back in the 1960’s!

  • smb11

    Apparently, you don’t need to demonstrate reading comprehension and logic skills to get your GED, as demonstrated by Susie. If Susie is typical of those who earn their GED, the standards need to be raised.

  • Robert Kennedy

    Walter Cronkhite, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Edward R Murrow, John Cameron Swayze and all the other dead legends are rolling over in their graves. The death of the fairness doctrine was the death of honest journalism. Those who try to do real journalism are either beaten by the jack booted swine or fired for making waves. That’s the direct result of 91% of the media in conservative control.

  • Robert Kennedy

    Walter Cronkhite, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Edward R Murrow, John Cameron Swayze and all the other dead legends are rolling over in their graves. The death of the fairness doctrine was the death of honest journalism. Those who try to do real journalism are either beaten by the jack booted swine or fired for making waves. That’s the direct result of 91% of the media in conservative control.

  • labman57

    What do you call it when an entire police force goes rogue, deciding that the constitutional protections of the First Amendment no longer apply in Ferguson?

    • jakesdad

      in modern US I think we call that “a day of the week that ends in ‘y'”…

  • Batman in Arkham

    Take note, Tea Party troglodytes. This is what tyranny actually looks like.

  • Roy Ferry

    I watch the video, what there was of it, of this incident. The police were arrogant, pompous, belligerent pricks. To me, it well demonstrates the police state this country seems to be turning into. I thought we had something called freedom of the press, but I guess I must have been delusional.

  • David Saint

    if he did do something like that, then he really would be violating the Constitution. He can only call for less force, but its up to the state (Gov, AG, etc) to act.

  • Kristin Maze Carnes

    Damn! Normally, I try (try!) to give police the benefit of the doubt, but that’s IMPOSSIBLE here!! I’m not ashamed to admit, but this terrifies me!

  • virginia_slim

    Susie, you are a sad, sick bigot.

    Your hero, Dickie Cheney, started a war to steal Iraq’s oil – he won millions – American lost trillions and thousands of lives.

    George W. Spent over a third of his Presidency on vacation in the midst of two wars, but you whine because President Obama spends 10% of that time on vacation.

    Why don’t you put on your white hood and wave the Rebel flag in front of the White House?

    You stand for nothing,
    but you stand against all that is good in America.

    We need to pity you, pity Ann Coulter, pity Michele Bachmann, pity Pat Robertson, pity John Hagee, pity Sean ‘the cowardly kitten’ Hannity.

    Pity you for being stuck in a country you hate.

    Pity you for being stuck in a majority Christian nation, when your statements indicate your disgust with the teachings of Christ.

    Pitiful valueless troll.

    • Madbunny

      At the same point in each Presidency:

      President Bush – 381 days of vacation. Roughly nine weeks a year
      President Obama – 130 days of vacation. Roughly three weeks a year.

      • Guest

        Bull crap Madbunny. (2013)President Barack Obama “has taken 92 days of vacation since he was sworn in,” compared to 367 for President George W. Bush at the same point in his presidency.

        • Raji the Green Witch

          Never the less, guest, the point is STILL valid. Bush took about 3 days of vacation for every ONE of Obama’s. Splitting hairs over the minutia of the actual numbers is ridiculous.

  • Susie Sotar

    Maybe they should send reporters who aren’t so confused about what they’re there for. Gee, they could have just sent them to Obama to vacation while the world burns.

    • Perry Levin

      If only you had the mental capacity to understand what is going on, not only in Ferguson, but in the country as a whole. What you are seeing is the future US under the rule of the Koch brothers gang. If you think the reporters were there for some other reason than to observe and report, you are definitely a moron.

      • Susie Sotar

        All the more reason to send them to be with a do nothing Obama who vacations while the world burns. Nero fiddled. Obama plays golf. Rome burned. The world burns. Send the reporters to join the party.

        • David Saint

          lmao you dont even seem to care your fellow Americans were accosted for doing nothing more than sitting at a McDonalds and refusing to shut off their video cameras. Which has been clearly ruled upon by the Supreme Court, and is affirmed by the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution. So, the only real question to pose to you Susie is if you hate America and Americans so badly, why stay here?

          • Laurie Neufeld

            Susie’s just trying to ramp up the outrage meters so she can weather the next week or so of nobody responding to any of her posts. Shunning is a wonderful tool.

          • Raji the Green Witch

            I’m starting early and shunning her, brad, Hooper and all the other clones (clowns?), now. Why wait for the end of August rush?

          • theonlysaneone

            Shunning susie also. She is just an idiot who has no logic.

          • Robert Kennedy

            Oh Susie, it’s the house which has been doing nothing, not Obama. He’s been working his butt off trying to get stuff done and the Republicans have sat on their hands or worked tirelessly to destroy the economy so that they could blame it on Obama. Funny thing though, although thr economy is recovering sluggishly because of Republican obstruction we have now had the longest string of months with increases in private sector job growth in our history. If you had a scrap of intelligence you would know that. Sadly you don’t. I guess Obama is a fair target to you because he’s been presidentin’ while black. What a sad life form you are. Better hope the Buddhists are wrong about reincarnation or you’ll come back as a bug.

          • smb11

            It is integrity she is lacking.

    • Alena

      I know, right? What lazy-ass reporters. If they were any good, they wouldn’t have to eat at all, and would be reporting on how great the police are suppressing those peaceful “people”. But you and I know better, right, Susie?

      They might be peaceful now, but they’re probably going to start violently enforcing the gay minority atheist agenda soon. We gotta stop them now!

      • Susie Sotar

        We’re through, remember? That was your decision. Stop trying to backtrack.

        • Alena

          Why Susie, I’m just following your lead! I thought backtracking, changing and completely ignoring arguments were your mark of a well informed patriot! Isn’t that what you wanted? You finally won me over! I have seen the light!

          • Laurie Neufeld

            She just can’t quit you! LOL

    • Madbunny

      Why would reporters follow the President on vacation rather than reporting on real news? It’s obvious that *you* find it more important, but the rest of us don’t really care about the President’s vacation. This looks to me like a state problem, not a Federal problem.

      If you want to complain about vacation complain about the Senate. They’re only going to be working 113 days this year. IN case you’re math challenged that means they’re taking 252 days off. Want to bet that they’ll vote themselves a pay raise as well?

      Not that you’ll care, but President Obama has taken about 130 or so days on vacation over the last six years. Roughly three weeks a year to put it in perspective.

      His predecessor at the SAME POINT in his Presidency, had spent 381 days on vacation over the same six years. Roughly nine weeks a year, to put it in perspective.

    • Robert Kennedy


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