Cruz: Reporters were 'doing their jobs'

Greg Nash

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Thursday criticized the arrest of reporters in Ferguson, Mo., saying they were detained “simply for doing their jobs."

"Reporters should never be detained — a free press is too important — simply for doing their jobs," the freshman senator and potential 2016 contender said on his Facebook page.

"Civil liberties must be protected, but violence is not the answer. Once the unrest is brought to an end, we should examine carefully what happened to ensure that justice is served," he added.

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On Wednesday evening, reporters Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post and Ryan J. Reilly of The Huffington Post were briefly detained and released without charges while reporting on protests in Ferguson, a predominately black suburb of St. Louis.

Lowery and Reilly were arrested in a McDonald's, as reports emerged that TV crews were being asked to leave the area where protesters were clashing with police. According to multiple media reports, some protesters tossed Molotov cocktails at police, who then responded with smoke bombs and tear gas.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, when notified of the reporter arrests by the Los Angeles Times, said, "Oh, God."

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) called images and reports coming out of the area "frightening," asking on Twitter whether it was "a war zone or a US city?"

Ferguson has become a hotbed of racial tension since the slaying over the weekend of the unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a police officer. Eyewitnesses have claimed that the officer shot Brown after confronting him on the sidewalk, while the police have said Brown assaulted an officer and tried to take his weapon.

President Obama was briefed on the situation in Ferguson Wednesday evening, underscoring mounting concern about violence in the area.

Obama was briefed on the situation by Attorney General Eric Holder and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, according to White House spokesman Eric Schultz, and is scheduled to receive another briefing Thursday morning.

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