FERGUSON, Mo., Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Reporters for the Washington Post and Huffington Post were arrested Wednesday at a McDonald's while writing about protests and riots taking place in Ferguson, Mo.
Wesley Lowery, of the Washington Post, and Ryan Reilly, of Huffington Post, were both inside the restaurant Wednesday evening when SWAT officers entered, handcuffed and booked the two reporters.
They were both writing and recharging their electronics when the officers entered and asked them to leave.
Reilly posted a photo of the SWAT members inside the McDonald's shortly before he was arrested.
SWAT just invade McDonald's where I'm working/recharging. Asked for ID when I took photo. pic.twitter.com/FOIsMnBwHy— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 13, 2014
Lowery and Reilly both said they were later released without much explanation. They recounted their experiences on Twitter.
Officers decided we weren't leaving McDonalds quickly enough, shouldn't have been taping them.— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 14, 2014
Released without any charges, no paperwork whatsoever— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 14, 2014
Officers slammed me into a fountain soda machine because I was confused about which door they were asking me to walk out of— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 14, 2014
Got no explaination at any point why in custody other than "trespassing" - at a mcdonalds where we were customers— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 14, 2014
I'm emotional, but need to note: Ryan and I are fine. Have seen people in Ferguson hurt by gas/rubber bullets. This wasn't that— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 14, 2014
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— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 14, 2014
"We're sorry for treating you this way on Saint Louis." -- local newsman who just interviewed me. #Ferguson— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 14, 2014
Marty Baron, the executive editor of the Washington Post, issued a statement regarding the incident:
Lowery and Reilly were in Ferguson to report about protests in response to the shooting death of a 17-year-old boy by police days earlier.
"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."
Mike Brown died Saturday after being shot multiple times by police while his hands were in the air. He was unarmed.