News24

Journos held in US suburb where cops killed teen

2014-08-14 12:41

Washington - Missouri police on Wednesday arrested two journalists reporting on the unrest that has roiled a US suburb after an unarmed black teenager was shot dead by police, the duo said.

Aspiring college student Michael Brown, 18, died on Saturday in a police shooting in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, sparking rioting and stirring comparisons to the February 2012 fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

Wesley Lowery, a Washington Post political reporter, and Ryan Reilly, a Huffington Post reporter, were arrested in a McDonald's after police entered the restaurant and ordered people to leave, the pair wrote on Twitter.

In a series of tweets, Lowery said they were given no explanation for their arrest other than "trespassing" and were not charged with any offenses before being released.

"I'm emotional, but need to note: Ryan and I are fine. Have seen people in Ferguson hurt by gas/rubber bullets. This wasn't that," Lowery tweeted.

Protests

Lowery also said the police officers "assaulted" him because the two reporters were not leaving the McDonald's quickly enough.

Reilly also described the pair's arrest in a series of tweets.

"SWAT just invade McDonald's where I'm working/recharging. Asked for ID when I took photo," he wrote.

Earlier on Wednesday in Ferguson, police fired several shots at a 19-year-old who pointed a handgun in their direction as they dispersed around 30 people who had gathered near where the rioting had occurred, according to the St Louis Post-Dispatch.

The young man was taken to hospital and his name has not been released.

Officials meanwhile urged demonstrators to remain calm, but there were fresh reports on Wednesday evening of more protests.

'Heartbreaking' incident

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles called for "any groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest do so only during daylight".

"Unfortunately, those who wish to co-opt peaceful protests and turn them into violent demonstrations have been able to do so over the past several days during the evening hours," said the statement issued by Knowles and the Ferguson City Council.

Looters targeted more than a dozen businesses in the St Louis suburb overnight o0n Sunday after a vigil on the sidewalk where Brown died erupted into clashes with police armed with tear gas, clubs and rubber bullets.

On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama appealed for calm after what he called a "heartbreaking" incident, noting that the FBI had opened a civil rights investigation into Brown's death.

Witnesses and police have given conflicting versions of how the teenager was shot in broad daylight, two days before he was due to start college.

AFP

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