Nearly a year ago
If you don't leave this McDonald's in 5 seconds I'm going to arrest you. 5, 4, 3 ...
in Ferguson, Missouri, two reporters, Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post
and Ryan Reilly of Huffington Post were arrested inside of a local McDonald's when the police felt like they weren't leaving the fast food restaurant quickly enough. It was ridiculous then, and grew to typify the overbearing police state that took over Ferguson in the wake of the shooting death of unarmed teenager Mike Brown. The firestorm that followed
was an embarrassment for the police force and the reporters were quickly released.
But here's the thing.
St. Louis is not quick to learn a lesson. Instead of dropping these charges and moving on, the county, a whole year later, has decided to go ahead and formally charge Lowery and Reilly with crimes, set court dates, and threaten them with arrest if they don't show up.
Yeah, this is real effin life.
First it was revealed that Wesley Lowery was being charged with trespassing and interfering with a police officer, then the news that Ryan Reilly was being charged came soon thereafter.
“Charging a reporter with trespassing and interfering with a police officer when he was just doing his job is outrageous,” Martin Baron, executive editor of The Post, said in a statement Monday. “You’d have thought law enforcement authorities would have come to their senses about this incident. Wes Lowery should never have been arrested in the first place. That was an abuse of police authority."
The Huffington Post also released a strong statement about the outrageous charges.
The Huffington Post condemns the charges filed by St. Louis County against our Justice reporter, Ryan J. Reilly, while covering the protests in Ferguson last year. Ryan has the full support of The Huffington Post in fighting these charges.
Almost a year ago today, Ryan was working on his laptop in a McDonald's near the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. A crime was committed at the McDonald's, not by journalists, but by local police who assaulted both Ryan and Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post during violent arrests.
This whole charade is just plain ridiculous and only advances the notion that the law enforcement in St. Louis is outrageously incompetent and petty.