The assault and arrest of two reporters by police in Ferguson, MO was met with widespread condemnation on Wednesday.
The Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly and the Washington Post's Wesley Lowery were in the St. Louis suburb to cover the turmoil that has broken out following the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager, by a police officer. The two men were working in a McDonald's when police invaded the restaurant, physically assaulted them and arrested them without giving a reason for their detention. Reilly and Lowery were soon released on the orders of the Ferguson chief of police.
Journalists and observers reacted with shock and anger to the incident.
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."
The outrage rocketed around social media:
Having covered the NYPD, have to say these Ferguson cops are making a real run for the people of color/protester/journo-abusing crown
— Ryan Devereaux (@rdevro) August 14, 2014
Ten minutes after the arrest of respected journalist covering #Ferguson every major media outlet had that story. Take note, don't arrest us.
— joshua scott albert (@jpegjoshua) August 14, 2014
Ferguson police chief, on being told that two reporters were arrested tonight: "Oh, God." http://t.co/jVe9Rxj3In
— Ravi Somaiya (@ravisomaiya) August 14, 2014
Even Occupy wasn't this bad. Even the *NYPD* isn't this bad. Which says something.
— Foster Kamer (@weareyourfek) August 14, 2014
In America RT @BharatKrishnan: Media arrested, tear gas and rubber bullets used on innocents, no fly zone established. This is so insane.
— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) August 14, 2014