Two journalists — Ryan Reilly (pictured) of The Huffington Post and Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post — were assaulted and arrested last night while covering the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.
According to Lowery’s Twitter account, the two men were working in a McDonald’s when a SWAT team burst in and demanded that everyone leave. The SWAT team grew upset that Reilly and Lowery were recording the events (which is completely legal) and so they decided to slam Reilly’s head against a window and shove Lowery into a soda machine. Both were eventually arrested, booked, and then suddenly released. All without any record of the incident or explanation from the cops.
The behavior of the police was naturally met with outrage. Marty Baron, WaPo’s editor, and Ryan Grim, HuffPost’s Washington bureau chief, both issued statements denouncing the incident. The National Association of Black Journalists demanded a full investigation.
“Journalists have a constitutionally protected right to work without the government interference,” said Bob Butler, NABJ’s president. “We call on — and fully expect — the authorities to investigate what appears to be a violation of the First Amendment and to hold the officers involved to account, if necessary.”
Please raise your hand if you think an investigation will be launched and, if so, the officers will be punished in any way.
Somehow, the police in Ferguson do not see the ridiculous irony of using excessive force to diffuse protests over excessive force.
[Image: Robert Cohen/ St. Louis Dispatch]