According to police officials, one of the most prominent Black Lives Matter activists, DeRay Mckesson, who was arrested on Saturday night during a protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has officially been released from jail.
DeRay Mckesson was one of the more than 200 persons placed under arrest during a protest for the recent fatal police officer-involved shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, both of which were captured on video. Mckesson had been live-streaming the protest when the tension-filled crowd erupted on Saturday night into early Sunday morning. It was reported that protesters began to hurl rocks at cops and the police threw flash grenades, as well as smoke bombs.
According to ABC News, the booking records for McKesson confirm that following his arrest, the Black Lives Matter activist was held at the East Baton Rouge Parish jail. Records show that the police have charged the 31-year-old with misdemeanor obstruction of a highway of commerce. The police report, which was filed for his arrest, states that DeRay repeatedly disobeyed police warnings to protesters, stepping out into a street after the police had informed them that the roadway was to be kept free so as “to not impede the flow of traffic.”
Spokeswoman for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, Casey Hicks, told the New York Daily News that Mckesson had posted a $250 bond to be released. The live-stream filming of the protest which Mckesson had been doing placed him walking alongside Airline Highway during the protest when he was arrested. The Black Lives Matter activist, after he was released, stated that the Baton Rouge Police were the ones who had been provoking peaceful protesters. Mckesson’s attorney, Roy J. Rodney, Jr. also gave a statement in opposition of the arrest, which had sparked the social media movement with the hashtag #FreeDeRay.
“Mr. McKesson was wrongfully arrested, excessively charged and overly detained as a result of the exercise of his fundamental and constitutionally protected right to free speech.”
Mckesson spoke to the media following his arrest and said that he remains hopeful the U.S. Justice Department will intervene in both of the investigations into the recent police killings of the black men as well as how the police had treated protesters.
The Periscope video that the activist had been streaming from the scene of the Black Lives Matter protest showed DeRay Mckesson walking with some other protesters on a busy street that had no sidewalk. In the midst of the officers trying to usher demonstrators away, Mckesson can be heard saying on camera that the police have been “truly awful” to those out there protesting and are trying to “provoke” the people.
Approximately five minutes into the video, his camera begins to shake and he appears to drop to the ground while an officer can be heard yelling “You’re under arrest,” and “Don’t fight me.”
Fellow activist Brittany Packnett gave a statement that she had been with DeRay at the time of his arrest and that his arrest seems to have been a targeted event, as he had not been disobeying orders when he was arrested. The belief that Mckesson was arrested for no apparent reason is also what led to fellow Black Lives Matter activists and other supporters to create the Twitter hashtag to #FreeDeRay pushing for his release.
The prominent activist began to trend immediately following his arrest with many calling for him to be released and pointing out that the video which he had been taking proves the police arrested him unlawfully. Janelle Monae, the pop singer and also a very vocal member of the Black Lives Matter Group, also took to twitter to share her outrage.
Following the arrest, the police did take the time to write in their report that DeRay McKesson had been arrested “without incident.”
Sunday’s release of DeRay is being celebrated across the internet as well.
[Photo by Max Becherer/ AP Images]