Fifty years ago, America's living rooms were interrupted with images of peaceful protesters in Selma or Washington or Chicago being bitten by police dogs, sprayed with fire hoses and pummeled by batons. Fifty years later, Americans again are witnessing similar images, this time from Ferguson, Missouri, near St. Louis.
The shooting death of Michael Brown and the subsequent police clampdown on protests in 2014 is frighteningly similar to how law enforcement treated civil rights marchers and the media in 1964. This time, their tools are stun grenades and assault weapons.
And again, the press is not just the witness, we have also become the victims.
Wesley Lowery, a reporter from the Washington Post who just accepted the National Association of Black Journalists' Emerging Journalist Award, and Ryan J. Reilly of the Huffington Post, were camped out in a local McDonald's, simply recharging their phones and laptops, when several St. Louis County police officers dressed in full combat gear decided — allegedly for safety reasons — they had to go.
When Reilly and Lowery apparently did not move fast enough, they were arrested. They were released a short time later without charges.