Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Statement of Washington Post on arrest of its reporter in Ferguson, Missouri

Wesley Lowrey (l.), of the Washington Post, and Ryan J. Reilly, of the Huffington Post, who described his arrest here.
Today, violence again broke out in Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting of an unarmed black teen, Michael Brown, Saturday by a policeman who authorities have so far refused to identify. Hacker group Anonymous has vowed to do so.
     Johnson's friend, Dorian Johnson, said Brown was shot multiple times. Police aren't saying how many rounds were emptied into Brown.
     Earlier tonight, a SWAT team burst into a Ferguson McDonalds used as an informal hangout for journalists to prepare and file stories via the restaurant's WiFi. Wesley Lowrey, of the Washington Post, and Ryan Reilly, of the Huffington Post, both were arrested. MSNBC interviewed Reilly here and Lowery here.

      Wesley has briefed us on what occurred, and there was absolutely no justification for his arrest.
      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. That behavior was wholly unwarranted and an assault on the freedom of the press to cover the news. The physical risk to Wesley himself is obvious and outrageous.
      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.
      We are relieved that Wesley is going to be OK. We are appalled by the conduct of police officers involved.

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