The National Association of Black Journalists strongly condemns the arrests of Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery and Huffington Post reporter Ryan J. Reilly in Ferguson, Missouri on Wednesday. Lowery, who is an NABJ member, and Reilly, are in Missouri covering the circumstances surrounding the killing of Michael Brown and the ensuing unrest.
Lowery and Reilly have stated they were working in a McDonald’s when police ordered them and others to leave the restaurant. Lowery and Reilly say they then were assaulted and detained by police and released shortly thereafter without being charged with a crime.
Lowery tweeted, “Officers decided we weren’t leaving McDonalds quickly enough, shouldn’t have been taping them.”
“Journalists have a constitutionally protected right to work without the government interference,” NABJ President Bob Butler said. “We call on — and fully expect — the authorities to investigate what appears to be a violation of the First Amendment and to hold the officers involved to account, if necessary.”
Lowery received NABJ’s Emerging Journalist of the Year award at the organization’s annual convention on Aug. 2. He is also a former member of NABJ’s Board of Directors.