(www.BlacksinHollywood.com) – What was largely viewed as a peaceful protest turned into a “violent arrest” of the prominent Black social activist DeRay McKeeson. Social media supporters were horrified and news spread like wildfire on social media prompting celebrities, journalists and others to drop what they were doing and post prayers for his safety when his LIVE Periscope broadcast captured his own arrest.
“Don’t fight me! Don’t fight me!” the police officer can be heard saying in the video that was filmed in the evening of July 9, 2016.
At 6:22 a.m. on July 10, 2016, BlackPressRadio interviewed the Baton Rouge Police Department about the arrest. Here’s what we know so far:
During the exclusive interview with BlackPressRadio, social justice activist Deray McKeeson was confirmed to be in police custody and is believed to be alive and well. Officers would not confirm whether or not he is injured and if so to what degree but the officer interviewed said, “I believe he is unharmed but I’m not sure. We’ve just changed shifts so I was not there.” This information was given to BlackPressRadio during an exclusive phone interview with police that are currently holding him.
While broadcasting LIVE on Periscope, the 37– year-old activist was abruptly tackled by police and arrested. Footage from the scene show the disruption and audio can be heard of the conversation.
“[Deray McKeeson] was booked at 1:44 a.m. on July 10, 2016,” said Baton Rouge Police Department officer. “He was charged with obstruction of Highway of Commerce. The charge is a misdemeanor. There hasn’t been any bond set yet so if the judge sets bonds, he’ll be out. He cannot be let go until a judge sets a bond at a bond hearing. Since it’s Sunday it could be tomorrow but maybe the judge will do it today,” the officer told BlackPressRadio.
While in custody and likely during transport, McKeeson managed to squeeze off a few text message sent to reporter Wesley Lowry of the Washington Post. Lowry posted an update. In days proceeding McKeeson’s arrest, death threats appeared to him on social media and in other ways. But, McKeeson indicated in the text messages to Lowry read that he “and 33 others have been arrested.”
The number is no longer correct according to the police officer BlackPressRadio interviewed.
“I don’t think he’s harmed but we just changed shifts and I wasn’t here. [The officer had not seen McKeeson] He was arrested with 125 other people and they all pretty much face the same charges. Everyone is in the back and doing ok. The inmates come back there. He will have the chance to bond out or stay in jail until you bond out. He committed a crime. He cannot just stand in the middle of a highway. You can go to jail for a seat beat violation. It’s up to the officer’s discretion. He is charged with violating RS Code: 1497,” the officer told BlackPressRadio.com
But some things do not match up, although that could be because the information is not able to be released to the press yet. For example, the video that McKeeson was filming was LIVE and we know he was taken into custody about 11 pm. Since he was arrested with about 125 others, processing took some time. BRPD officially booked the activist at 1:44 am. Depending how far away the precinct is,
A witness told the press that “The officers won’t give their names,” said Brittany Packnett, one of Mckesson’s co-founders of the group Campaign Zero, a prominent activist collective. “He was clearly targeted.” Witness said the arrest was violent. “They tackled him, one officer hit the top of his body and another officer [hit] the bottom,” said Packnett.
A friend close to McKeeson confirmed that is ok as he called her around 5:15 a.m. on July 10, 2016. He said he wasn’t sure when he would get out. The story is developing. Please stay tuned to @BlackPressRadio.com for the most up-to-date news.