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Huffington Post, Washington Post Reporters Arrested, Assaulted By Ferguson Police

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MICHAEL BROWN
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: With their hands raised, residents gather at a police line as the neighborhood is locked down following skirmishes on August 11, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police responded with tear gas as residents and their supporters protested the shooting by police of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown who was killed Saturday in this suburban St. Louis community. Yesterday 32 arrests were made after protests turned into rioting and looting in Ferguson. (Photo by Scott | Scott Olson via Getty Images
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Two reporters covering the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri were arrested and physically assaulted by police on Wednesday.

Ryan Reilly, the justice correspondent for The Huffington Post, and Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery were working in a McDonald's when a SWAT team suddenly invaded the restaurant. After being told to stop recording the proceedings, and refusing, both men were then violently arrested. (Recording police officers is a legal act.) Lowery was shoved into a soda machine. An officer slammed Reilly's head against glass.

Reilly and Lowery were released shortly after news of their arrest broke. Police in Ferguson—which has seen days of protests following the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by an unnamed officer—have been extremely antagonistic towards journalists, as well as towards the protesters demonstrating against Brown's death.

The Washington Post uploaded this video of Lowery's arrest:

Reilly's arrest was photographed by a St. Louis Post-Dispatch journalist:

Later, Lowery wrote an account of his arrest. He said that police ordered him to stop filming them, and that, when his bag fell off his shoulders, they suddenly seized him and accused him of resisting arrest, even though his hands were behind his back. That, he said, made him "more afraid than of the tear gas and rubber bullets.”

Later, Lowery had this exchange:

“I hope you’re happy with yourself,” one officer told me. And I responded: “This story’s going to get out there. It’s going to be on the front page of The Washington Post tomorrow.”

And he said, “Yeah, well, you’re going to be in my jail cell tonight.”

Speaking to MSNBC, Reilly told a similar story. He said that the officers "essentially acted as a military force."

News of the arrests was met with outrage.

Washington Post editor Martin Baron said the paper was "relieved that Wesley is going to be OK" and "appalled by the conduct of police officers involved." He continued, "That behavior was wholly unwarranted and an assault on the freedom of the press to cover the news."

HuffPost's Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim told Talking Points Memo, "This is what happens when local police are allowed to become para-military units."

Below is a series of tweets from Lowery, Reilly and others about the situation. Read here for further details.