In the late hours of Saturday evening, activist DeRay McKesson was arrested while protesting in Baton Rouge with other Black Lives Matter protesters. While the Baltimore native is the most prominent of those arrested, officers also arrested others.
McKesson was on Periscope at the time of the arrest, where he can be heard addressing officers for being grabbed and handcuffed. They gave no reason for the arrest at the time. Protesters on the scene say they were asked to get on the sidewalk, but there was no sidewalk to walk on.
“I want to be clear, in the videos posted from last night you can see there are no sidewalks for people to walk on & protest,” said Johnetta Elzie, another well-known activist who was protesting with Mckesson. “There were so many snatch and grabs last night done by the police. BRPD escalated right after nightfall. Many police officers did not have their names displayed on their uniforms. When asked for a name ‘officer man’ was given.”
The protest in Baton Rouge comes after an intense week of civil unrest in the country ignited by several police-involved killings of black men— caught on video.
Alton Sterling was shot in Baton Rouge outside of a convenience store while selling CDs, Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minn. was killed at point blank range for reaching for his gun license, Alva Braziel was killed in Houston after being accused of “pointing a gun at [officers]”, and Delrawn Small was shot dead in front of his family by an off-duty police officer in a road rage incident in Brooklyn.
As reported by The Washington Post, a Baton Rouge Parish Prison official said that more than 120 people were arrested across multiple protest sites last night. McKesson was charged with obstructing a highway of commerce, said an official, who declined to be identified because she was not authorized to speak to reporters. She said bond had not been set as of late Sunday morning.
McKesson was able to call a close friend in Baltimore around 5:30 a.m. and told her he was in OK physical condition but did not know when he would be released, the friend told The Post.
What’s most disappointing is that after a week of voicing concern and basic civil rights POC would like to see from law enforcement, little has changed on their part— specifically from Baton Rouge police.
We’ll keep you updated as this story develops.