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.
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.”
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:
And the SWAT team wasn’t nice about it, either:
As they were waiting to be taken away, Lowery noted:
The two journalists got hauled to the police station and booked. Then:
Both Reilly and Lowery were arrested for “trespassing” in a public place. Where they were customers. When someone finally deigned to tell them… well…
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:
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.