News & Politics

Washington Post and Huffington Post Reporters Arrested in Ferguson, Missouri

They were arrested while covering protests that have erupted in the St. Louis suburb following the police killing of an unarmed youth.

Reporters for the Washington Post and the Huffington Post were arrested Wednesday night in Ferguson, Mo. while covering protests that have taken hold of the St. Louis-area city following the shooting death of a black teenager by local police last Saturday.

The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery and Huffington’s Ryan J. Reilly were working from a McDonald’s about 7 PM local time when police entered the restaurant and ordered everyone inside to leave, Reilly reported on his Twitter account.

Ferguson has resembled a combat zone in the days since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by police. Brown was unarmed. With protests swelling, officers from city, county, and state departments, many outfitted in assault and riot gear, are patrolling the city of about 21,000.

After their brief detentions, from which they were released without any charges, Lowery and Reilly both described being manhandled by police.

Reilly told MSNBC’s All in With Chris Hayes that the officer arresting him “used his finger to put a pressure point on my neck” and “slammed my head against the glass purposefully.”

A person answering the phones at the Ferguson Police Department told Washingtonian he did not know any of the circumstances that led to Reilly’s and Lowery’s arrests. Before the McDonald’s incident, a Twitter user asked Lowery he was more concerned about the the protestors, some of whom have turned to looting Ferguson businesses since Saturday, or the police: “easy answer, i’m a black man—the police,” Lowery responded.

“Wesley has briefed us on what occurred, and there was absolutely no justification for his arrest,” Washington Post editor Marty Baron said in a statement released by the paper. “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.”

Neither Reilly or Lowery responded to e-mails following their arrests. There are obviously more pressing concerns in Ferguson. Shortly after they were released, other reporters on the scene reported being hit with tear gas police fired into the crowd.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.