At Least 33, Including Activist DeRay McKesson, Have Been Arrested During A Protest Against Police Violence In Baton Rouge

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Ryan Kailath on Twitter

Panthers marching and chanting “black power” in Baton Rouge

Protestors once again hit the streets on Saturday night, striking out against police violence in Baton Rouge following the death of Alton Sterling earlier in the week. Unlike many peaceful protests during the week, Saturday night ended in numerous journalists and protestors being arrested. This includes Black Lives Matter activist and Baltimore mayoral candidate DeRay McKesson.

McKesson and several others documented the events of the protest on social media throughout the evening, highlighting the increased police presence in the area while claiming they were attempting to provoke those protesting:

deray mckesson on Twitter

If anything happens tonight, it was caused by the police. Everybody has been peaceful tonight but them. #BatonRouge

deray mckesson on Twitter

We are walking on the sidewalk. Their presence with their weapons displayed is provocation, FYI. …

deray mckesson on Twitter

And now more armored vehicles pass by. #BatonRouge

McKesson had been documenting on Periscope at the time of his arrest, capturing the incident on camera as it happened according to the New York Times:

The arrest occurred about 11:15 p.m. as Mr. McKesson and other protesters were marching in Baton Rouge on Airline Highway, where they were warned by the police not to stray onto the road.

Mr. Mckesson, 31, repeatedly tells viewers that there is no sidewalk. Then, about five minutes into the broadcast, the video gets shaky and you hear the police say: City police. You’re under arrest. Don’t fight me. Don’t fight me.” Then Mr. Mckesson shouts, “I’m under arrest, y’all.

Chicago Tribune on Twitter

Activist @deray arrested in Baton Rouge; police use smoke bombs to clear protesters in Minn.

Fellow activist Johnetta Elzie reported that at least 33 had been arrested alongside the high-profile face of Black Lives Matter. You can also see video of the arrest from others broadcasting from the scene:

Sam White on Twitter

This is @deray being arrested behind the white line they said they arrested him for crossing. #BatonRouge

Johnetta Elzie on Twitter

I’m not in jail. @deray and 33 others were arrested. #AltonSterling

There were also reports that several journalists were arrested during the evening, with some of the arrests being documented by those on social media:

Mark Armstrong on Twitter

@WAFB employee arrested tonight

Bryn Stole on Twitter

Colleagues saying @WAFB field producer knocked off curb into street during scuffle & then grabbed, led away by police.

Maya Lau with The Advocate spoke to authorities about why police were arresting protestors, with a state police official citing safety concerns with blocking the roadway:

Well, they’re clearly blocking the roadway… We welcome the protests. We want them to voice their opinions. That’s what we’re here to do, to make sure they’re safe and they’re able to do that.

We wouldn’t arrest people who are quietly protesting off the roadway,

Maya Lau on Twitter

Here’s @LAStatePolice Maj. Cain answering Qs about why cops apparently rushing crowd unprovoked

The arrests and confrontation with police is the latest incident following a week of tragedy, beginning with the death of Sterling in Baton Rouge, Philando Castile in Minnesota, and the ambush attacks on police in Dallas during another peaceful protest. The latter could also explain the increased caution used by police during protests, despite the appearance that it is meant to provoke.

McKesson was apparently able to text while in custody, noting the number that had been arrested with him and their condition.

Wesley Lowery on Twitter

Just got this text message from @deray, who has been arrested in Baton Rouge – says being held with 33

No matter what side you support, it’s clear that the tensions from months of police incidents has not been relieved and has almost taken a different dynamic following this week.

(Via New York Times / Buzzfeed News / Mashable)

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