DeRay McKesson Not Charged For Protesting In Baton Rouge
Prosecutors in Baton Rouge have decided to drop charges in about 100 cases involving protestors arrested for obstruction of a roadway or public passage. Among those 100 cases dropped include prominent Black Lives Matter figure DeRay Mckesson and Ieshia Evans (the woman in this iconic photo captured during the protests).
District Attorney Hillar C. Moore III of East Baton Rouge reviewed the arrests ranging from July 8 to July 11. In a statement he announced only four protestors remained in jail because of other factors. According to Louisiana law first-time offenders are entitled to have misdemeanor arrests expunged from their state record, pending no other arrests or convictions.
McKesson was arrested on one count of obstruction of highway, a misdemeanor, as he was walking along Baton Rouge's Airline Highway. When news of the activist and politician's arrest hit social media the incident began trending with #FreeDeRay. Black Twitter quickly banded together to help allocate resources, calling the jail to find out more information and contacting lawyers who could potentially offer their services.
After being released Mckesson and others arrested requested relief in the form of the charges being dropped by the Baton Rouge DA’s office, and now, fortunately, many of them have received that. "It is clear that the District Attorney understood that the arrest was unlawful and dropped the charges accordingly," McKesson said in an interview with The Baltimore Sun.
His attorney Roy Rodney Jr. was also satisfied with the decision. "This is exactly the relief we had requested from the district attorney and the relief we had expected," Rodney said. "So I'm glad to see that the DA conducted a rational review of the facts of this case, because Mr. Mckesson had done nothing wrong. He has not violated the law, nor had he disobeyed any police officers."
Recently, McKesson spoke to CNN's Chris Cuomo about the Black Lives Matter movement and his thoughts on All Lives Matter, offering up one of the most succinct metaphors for explaining what it's like to hear that argument as a black person.
"I would never go to a breast cancer rally and yell out 'Colon cancer matters!' And that's what people are doing here, they are frustrated by the fact that black people are focusing on the inequity and injustice specifically targeted to black people...I think of 'All Lives Matter' as a distraction technique that has probably been one of the most through-line distraction techniques of the movement, but it doesn't get us away from key issues at hand which is focusing on police violence and a world in which police don't kill people."