August 13, 2014

Two reporters found themselves on the receiving end of Ferguson Police Department's peculiar method of policing earlier tonight.

Huffington Post reports:

The Huffington Post's Ryan J. Reilly and the Washington Post's Wesley Lowery were arrested Wednesday while covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri surrounding the death of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown, who was shot to death by a police officer last week.

Reilly tweeted at around 8:00 P.M. EDT that SWAT officers invaded the McDonald's at which he was working, requesting his identification after he took a photo of them. Lowery was also working at the fast food restaurant.

After they realized they were national reporters, they were released. When editor Amanda Terkel called to find out when a police report would be available, they told her in one to two weeks. However, they also hung up on her twice when she tried to get the name of the person giving her information.

Reilly appeared on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes" shortly after his release to recount the arrest.

"The officer in question, who I repeatedly later asked for his name.. grabbed my things and shoved them into my bag," Reilly said. "He used his finger to put a pressure point on my neck."

"They essentially acted as a military force. It was incredible," he said. "The worst part was he slammed my head against the glass purposefully on the way out of McDonald's and then sarcastically apologized for it."

Gosh, Ferguson PD. You might want to switch out your Public Relations team. This one isn't getting it done.

Update: Washington Post's Wesley Lowery's first-person account is even more chilling:

As I turned, my backpack, which was slung over one shoulder, began to slip. I said, “Officers, let me just gather my bag.” As I did, one of them said, “Okay, let’s take him.”

Multiple officers grabbed me. I tried to turn my back to them to assist them in arresting me. I dropped the things from my hands.

“My hands are behind my back,” I said. “I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.” At which point one officer said: “You’re resisting. Stop resisting.”

That was when I was most afraid — more afraid than of the tear gas and rubber bullets.

As they took me into custody, the officers slammed me into a soda machine, at one point setting off the Coke dispenser. They put plastic cuffs on me, then they led me out the door.

I could see Ryan still talking to an officer. I said: “Ryan, tweet that they’re arresting me, tweet that they’re arresting me.”

He didn’t have an opportunity, because he was arrested as well.

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