A St. Louis city official who has been extensively documenting the ongoing protests against police in Ferguson, Mo. on social media was arrested Wednesday night during the latest round of clashes between law enforcement and protesters.
Alderman Antonio French was arrested and charged with unlawful assembly, his wife told St. Louis TV station KMOV. French was later released from custody just after 7 a.m. local time Thursday morning.
French’s wife tweeted that her husband had been ordered out of his car and arrested when he “didn’t listen” to police:
@AntonioFrench being booked now. Not sure what the charge is yet. Was ordered out of his car and arrested because he “didn’t listen”.
— Senka (@senka) August 14, 2014
Two reporters, the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery and the Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly (formerly of TPM), were also arrested overnight in a separate incident at a McDonald’s. The two had been covering the ongoing protests over Saturday’s fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) said in a statement that he found the situation in Ferguson “deeply troubling” and would visit north St. Louis County on Thursday.
“While we all respect the solemn responsibility of our law enforcement officers to protect the public, we must also safeguard the rights of Missourians to peaceably assemble and the rights of the press to report on matters of public concern,” he said.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.