A year ago in Ferguson, in one of the first nights following the police shooting and death of Brown, reporters for The Huffington Post and The Washington Post were working in a McDonald’s restaurant. Just in the last few days, the pair was charged with trespassing and with interfering with a police officer’s performance of his duties. Police say the journalists didn’t leave the restaurant fast enough.
About two dozen journalists have been arrested while reporting on the continuing Ferguson protests. Officials recently settled at least one lawsuit brought by a reporter who was arrested, agreeing to pay $8,500 and dropping three charges. At the same time, similar charges against another reporter were dropped.
Editors at the The Huffington Post and The Washington Post have criticized police conduct in the arrests of their staffers. WashingtonPost executive editor Marty Baron said the decision to pursue charges “represents contemptible overreaching by prosecutors who seem to have no regard for the role of journalists seeking to cover a major story and following normal practice.”