Two Reporters Arrested Overnight in Ferguson

by Greg Pollowitz

Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post were arrested last night for, I guess, trespassing in a McDonald’s and in Reilly’s words, “not packing their bags quick enough.” The two were taken into custody and released a little later in the evening without any charges filed.

Here’s a summary from Mediaite:

Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery was arrested and subsequently released by Ferguson police. Lowery called into Rachel Maddow‘s show to describe how he was placed in restraints and even assaulted by the cops right after he was just doing his job.

Lowery, who was arrested alongside Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly, said that journalists were using the McDonald’s for the past few days as a “media center.” And then earlier tonight police decided to just shut it down. Lowery started to recording what was going on around him.

And as he was packing up and heading out, they decided to arrest and restrain him. He had tweeted he was slammed against the soda machine, but Lowery told Maddow he wasn’t hurt nearly as much as Ferguson citizens have been hurt in the past few days.

Lowery recounted his experience here, complete with video of his encounter with the police officer.

When you watch the video, you’ll see that Lowery was asked multiple times to gather his belongings and leave the restaurant. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborugh blamed Lowery’s arrest on his actions inside of the McDonalds, via the HuffPo:

“I will just say if I saw that video and my son was the one police arrested after that episode, I’d say, ‘Joey, heres a clue. When the cops tell you for the thirtieth time, let’s go, you know what that means, son? It means let’s go. I’m sorry…I don’t sit there and have a debate and film the police officer unless I want to get on TV and have people talk about me the next day.” 

Lowery wasn’t happy with this take at all:

“I would invite Joe Scarborough to come down to Ferguson and get out of 30 Rock where he’s sipping his Starbucks smugly…I have little patience for talking heads. This is too important. This is a community in the United States of America where things are on fire. This community is on edge. There is so much happening here and instead of putting reporters on the ground we have people like Joe Scarborough running their mouth who have no idea what they’re talking about.”

I think they’re both right. Lowery could have handled it a little differently, but he’s right to ask, “where are the ‘talking heads?’ “ MSNBC was AWOL last night with no camera crew on hand for when the protest turned violent. MSNBC’s Trymaine Lee was on the ground, however, and did phone in several reports to the hosts in New York City, including live coverage of getting hit with tear gas. 

But the cable news channels should have been on location to chronicle the events. If local television and radio stations could figure out how to get live images out, MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News should have, too.