DeRay Mckesson, a prominent civil rights activist, was arrested while protesting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Mckesson, who’s celebrating his 31st birthday on Saturday, July 9, was live streaming the protest on Periscope prior to his arrest around 11 p.m. In the video, an officer warns Mckesson to stay on the crowded sidewalk.
“You in them loud shoes, if I see you in the road, if I get close to you, you’re going to jail,” said the officer to Mckesson. But it wasn’t long before Mckesson was off to jail. “I’m under arrest y’all,” he said towards the end of the video. The arrest can be seen at the 4:00 mark.
Social media users, such as his friend and fellow protestor, Johnetta Elzie, have been on-hand to live tweet the incident as well. According to Elzie, he wasn’t read his rights before he was taken inside of an armored truck. He’s also one of 14 people arrested at the protest, according to Elzie.
While in Baton Rogue, Mckesson was participating in a peaceful protest to bring attention to Alton Sterling, a man who was shot and killed by police despite being pinned down by officers during his arrest.
Sterling is one of two black men in the headlines this week who were shot and killed by police. Philando Castile, a man from Minnesota, was killed during a traffic stop. The tragic incident was streamed on Facebook live.
Mckesson gained notoriety after organizing and participating in protests for Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man who was shot-and-killed by a police officer in 2014. Brown’s passing led to civil unrest in his hometown, also known as the Ferguson uprising. The shooting was soon followed by the death of Freddie Gray, who died from severe injuries while in police custody. Since then, Mckesson has been known as a proponent for the Black Lives Matter movement. Along with Elzie, Brittany Packet, and Samuel Sinyangwe, Mckesson also created Campaign Zero, a 10-point policy plan to bring forth police reform.
After gaining prominence, Mckesson ran for office earlier this year. He aimed for the mayor’s seat in his hometown of Baltimore, but ultimately he achieved sixth place in the Democratic primary with 2.5 percent of the vote.
DeRay, who has over 400,000 followers on Twitter, often covers and shares information on his Twitter page. After the death of Gray and Sandra Bland, a black woman who also died in police custody, tweeters have been sure to retweet Mckesson’s words on hypothetical situations of what might happen if he dies in prison.
“If I die in police custody & the police tell you that I ran through the woods & they pepper sprayed me to death, please ask every question,” read one tweet.
Since the Mckesson’s arrest, #FreeDeRay has been trending on Twitter while several tweeters have called the arrest unlawful and unjust, including New York Daily News columnist, Shaun King.
Mckesson has since sent a text to relay that he and 33 others were in custody together with cuffs that are “too tight.”
“There are many people whose ties are too right and he[sic] police are denying all requests to loosen. Some people cannot feel their fingers,” read the text from Mckesson to Washington Post reporter, Wesley Lowry. Although he also mentioned that there was an “incredible sense of community.”
The text had a few tweeters skeptical about whether or not Mckesson was in jail though since he was able to have access to his phone. Lowery quickly explained a few reasons and scenarios of why it’s possible.
“To answer an obvious and recurring question: Lots of precedent for arrested protesters managing to access phones while in police vans,” read one tweet.
“When you’re arrested in that type of situation often not fully searched until taken to station. Often someone can reach a phone in a pocket,” read another.
It’s still unclear what charges Mckesson may face. Check out some additional tweets below.
Keep #FreeDeray trending y'all! Don't let this go. Let them know the spotlight is on them. Praying for his safety.— Laneshia (@LaneshiakThomas) July 10, 2016
[Image via Kimberly White/Getty Image]