Patrons working in the McDonald’s, which reporters had been using as a staging area near demonstrations, were ordered to leave, Lowery said. When the journalists said they were working members of the media, the police told them that was fine, but they couldn’t guarantee their safety.
Police then left and returned a short time later, Lowery said, this time demanding that the reporters leave.
Lowery was directed to leave through one door, and then told to go through another, at which point his bag fell off of his shoulder.
“‘Okay, let’s take him,’” one of the officers said, according to Lowery.
Another journalist, Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post, was also in the McDonald’s, arguing with a police officer, and was also handcuffed.
The two reporters were taken outside to a police van, where a man inside the van was complaining that he could not breathe and that the handcuffs were too tight. Lowery and Reilly were then taken to the back of a police car, where they sat alongside a member of the clergy who had also been cuffed, Lowery said.
At this point, they were taken to a holding cell inside the Ferguson police station. News of their arrest quickly began spreading on social media, and the Ferguson police chief was alerted to their arrests by a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. About a half an hour after arriving at the holding cell, they were told that all media members could leave without any charges being filed.
“‘The chief thought he was doing you two a favor,’” the officer said, according to Lowery.