DeRay McKesson arrested at Black Lives Matter protest after Alton Sterling shooting
Black Lives Matter protester DeRay McKesson has been arrested in Baton Rouge.
The protester, who has become synonymous with the anti-police brutality demonstrations, was arrested after going on Saturday to show solidarity with those protesting the Alton Sterling shooting by a police officer.
After McKesson was taken into custody at 11pm, activists spoke to the media to describe the arrest as physically violent.
“The officers won’t give their names,” said Brittany Packnett, who often protests and coordinates with McKesson.
She said “he was clearly targeted” at the demonstration.
Packnett tweeted that 100 people were taken into police custody in Baton Rouge, which was confirmed by police later, who said over 120 people were arrested.
After his arrest, McKesson was charged with obstructing a highway of commerce.
The officer who spoke to the media would not identify herself, saying she was not authorised to speak.
McKesson had been live-streaming the protest using his phone. During the stream, Packnett said he had been approached by an officer warning him that he had been “flagged” for leaving the pavement.
After that, McKesson was arrested by two officers. “They tackled him. One officer hit the top of his body and another officer the bottom,” Packnett said.
“The police continue to just provoke people,” McKesson says in the recording when officers tell him and others to remain on the pavement.
An officer is heard saying that a man in “loud shoes” had been “flagged”, adding: “You in them loud shoes, if I see you in the road, if I get close to you, you’re going to jail.”
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It is understood that the “loud shoes” comment refers to red Nike trainers McKesson is known for wearing at protests.
Packnett says in the video: “We’re on the shoulder. There is no sidewalk, sir.”
Moments later, an officer shouts that McKesson is under arrest, to which he responds: “I’m under arrest y’all.”
Some have suggested that McKesson was deliberately targeted because of his prominence in the police reform movement.
He sent a text message from police custody saying he and 33 others were arrested together – he accused arresting officers of neglecting to act when ties were tied too tight around people’s wrists.
Late on Saturday a friend spoke to the Washington Post to say McKesson was in modest physical condition but that he had not been told when he would be freed.