Police in Ferguson appear to have crossed a clear line and jeopardized freedom of the press–which is protected by the First Amendment–Wednesday evening. Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery and Huffington Posts’s Ryan Reilly were both arrested while they were working at a local McDonald’s by people who look more like soldiers than they do police officers.
Lowery published his account of the night’s events over at the Washington Post:
As they took me into custody, the officers slammed me into a soda machine, at one point setting off the Coke dispenser. They put plastic cuffs on me, then they led me out the door.
I could see Ryan still talking to an officer. I said: “Ryan, tweet that they’re arresting me, tweet that they’re arresting me.”
He didn’t have an opportunity, because he was arrested as well.
The officers led us outside to a police van. Inside, there was a large man sitting on the floor between the two benches. He began screaming: “I can’t breathe! Call a paramedic! Call a paramedic!”
Ryan and I asked the officers if they intended to help the man. They said he was fine. The screaming went on for the 10 to 15 minutes we stood outside the van.
“I’m going to die!” he screamed. “I’m going to die! I can’t breathe! I’m going to die!”
Lowery and Reilly were eventually released without charge–and without the names or badge numbers of the officers involved in their arrest.