Two journalists were detained by police while reporting on civil unrest in a suburb of St. Louis Wednesday evening.
Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery confirmed on Twitter that he and a colleague, identified as Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post, were detained by St. Louis County police officers as the pair attempted to report near the scene of anti-police demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri.
The pair were stationed at a McDonald’s restaurant about a block from the demonstration. A photo published by Reilly on his personal Twitter account showed police dressed in SWAT gear entering the restaurant around 7:00 p.m. local time.
Jon Swaine, a reporter with the Guardian newspaper, said a short time later that he witnessed two journalists being detained by police outside the restaurant.
“Tried to get closer to confirm identities of reporters being arrested,” Swaine tweeted. “Was marched at by cops in riot gear and threatened with arrests.”
Twitter users began speculating that Lowery and Reilly were the journalists who had been detained. Both men had been publishing regular updates to Twitter before Swaine’s comment. More than a half-hour later, Lowery confirmed the news on his Twitter feed.
SWAT just invade McDonald’s where I’m working/recharging. Asked for ID when I took photo. pic.twitter.com/FOIsMnBwHy — Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 13, 2014
A spokesperson for St. Louis County police has not yet returned an e-mail from The Desk seeking comment on the incident.
Hundreds have taken to to the street in the suburban St. Louis town in recent days following the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown by authorities last week. Police say an officer, whose identity has not yet been released, shot the teenager after a scuffle involving a weapon. Eyewitnesses have disputed this account, saying Brown was unarmed and cooperating with police at the time of the incident.