CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) – The Washington Post’s executive editor Monday called it “outrageous” that his reporter has been summonsed to court after being arrested in Ferguson, Mo. last year as he a wrote story about the protests at a McDonald’s.
Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery and Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly were busted as they typed on their laptops. Both were charged with trespassing and interfering with a police officer’s performance of duties. They allegedly did not leave the restaurant immediately when officers ordered them to.
The reporters say they were merely trying to pack up their computers and leave when they were arrested.
“Charging a reporter with trespassing and interfering with a police officer when he was just doing his job is outrageous,” Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron said in a statement Monday.
“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.”
The summons orders the reporters to appear in St. Louis County Municipal Court on Aug. 24. They could be fined $1,000 and sentenced to a year in jail.
They could be arrested again if they fail to appear.
“At least we know St. Louis County knows how to file charges,” said Ryan Grim, The Huffington Post’s Washington, D.C. bureau chief.
“If Wesley Lowery and Ryan J. Reilly can be charged like this with the whole country watching, just imagine what happens when nobody is.”
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