The Huffington Post’s Wesley Lowery and the Washington Post’s Ryan Reilly were both charged with trespassing and interfering with a police officer. They were charged from when they were arrested last year while at a McDonalds. The statute of limitations expires Thursday for last year’s arrest.
Outrage poured from the Huffington Post and the Washington Post. Marty Baron, executive editor of the Washington Post, commented by saying:
“Charging a reporter with trespassing and interfering with a police officer when he was just doing his job is outrageous. 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.”
Ryan Grim, the Huffington Post’s Washington bureau chief, and Sam Stein, senior politics editor, released the following statement:
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.
At least we know St. Louis County knows how to file charges. If Wesley Lowery and Ryan J. Reilly can be charged like this with the whole country watching, just imagine what happens when nobody is.
Lowery told the Washington Post that he “was surprised that a year later this is something officials in St. Louis County decided was worth revisiting.” On Twitter, Lowery joked that he had met a bet with Reilly over whether or not charges would be filed. Reilly apparently had bet that they would because he later tweeted Lowery that he owed him a McDonalds Happy Meal.
When Lowery and Reilly were arrested last year, they were sitting in a McDonalds. Police came in and told them to leave. The two were in the process of leaving with Lowery being given differing information while trying to pack his items. Eventually the two were arrested. Later, they and all media were released.