Tag Archives: Ferguson

NewsGuild-CWA President Bernie Lunzer on reporters' arrests in Ferguson

NewsGuild-CWA demands St. Louis prosecutor drop charges against reporters


The NewsGuild-CWA joins with other outraged journalists in demanding that the St. Louis County prosecutor drop the trumped-up charges against two reporters who were arrested a year ago covering the Ferguson protests.

Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post and Ryan J. Reilly of the Huffington Post were doing absolutely nothing wrong when police stormed the McDonald’s restaurant the journalists were using for a reporting base.

While attempting to comply with officers’ orders to leave the restaurant, police decided they weren’t acting quickly enough. As The Washington Post reported, “Lowery said he was given conflicting information about where to exit and was attempting to gather his bag when officers grabbed him, slammed him into a soda machine and placed plastic cuffs on him. Reilly, speaking to the Huffington Post last year, said the police gave the reporters “a countdown like we were 5-year-olds.”

The reporters were taken to a holding cell at the Ferguson police station. After a half hour, they were told they could leave without any charges filed.

Now, inexplicably and reprehensibly, Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch has made the decision to formally charge the two journalists with trespassing and interfering with a police officer. The counts carry a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in a county jail.

“The prosecutor’s actions are a gross abuse of power and a vile assault on the First Amendment,” NewsGuild-CWA President Bernie Lunzer said. “We are not politely calling on him to drop these charges; we are demanding it. If he refuses, he will be in for the fight of his life as faces the collective and growing wrath of the nation’s journalists and free press advocates.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Paul Hampel

Post-Dispatch reporter released from hospital after Ferguson attack

A Post-Dispatch reporter and United Media Guild member who was beaten and robbed while covering the Ferguson protests has been released from the hospital.

Paul Hampel said he was taking photos and videos of break-ins shortly before he was attacked Sunday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Paul Hampel

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Paul Hampel, who was assaulted, talks with a police officer helping him as they take shelter during shooting that broke out along West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015. He was assaulted by a group of men who also took his phone and his wallet minutes before the shooting began. Photo By David Carson,

The attackers took his phone and wallet. He was released from the hospital Monday afternoon.
Several journalists have been injured, attacked or robbed while covering Ferguson and its aftermath since the Aug. 9, 2014, fatal shooting of Michael Brown.