Police Arrest Man Who Posted Video of Alton Sterling’s Death
Over the weekend, the country continued to reel from the deaths of two African-American men—Alton Sterling and Philando Castile—at the hands of police officers. Sterling, who was shot by officers while immobilized on the ground in Baton Rouge, La., became well known as video of his death went viral, thanks to a man named Chris LeDay.
LeDay received the footage from a friend in Baton Rouge and immediately shared it via his social media accounts, where it was soon picked up by the mainstream media.
Although the video is now familiar to hundreds of thousands of people, few knew of what transpired just 24 hours after LeDay shared the tragic footage. According to Photography Is Not A Crime (PINAC), LeDay was arrested and held overnight. PINAC reports:
[T]hat evening as he walked into his job as an aerospace ground equipment technician at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, going through the usual security checkpoint he had been going through for the month he had been working there, he was not allowed walk through.
Instead, he was detained by at least ten military police officers with guns, including a few with M-16s, all of them surrounding him in case he tried to make a run for it. …
They eventually told him he was wanted on a warrant for assault and battery and escorted him into a back room where he was handcuffed and forced to wait for Dunwoody police to come pick him up, the local police department who had this alleged warrant out for his arrest.
When the Dunwoody police officer arrived to transport him to jail, the warrant did not say anything about an assault and battery charge.
“It was just over some traffic tickets from a couple of years ago,” he said. “They said my license was suspended.”
According to PINAC, LeDay was led out of his workplace in “handcuffs and leg shackles.” He was subsequently held in DeKalb County jail for 26 hours and released after paying the traffic fines. LeDay believes that the purpose of the arrest was to get him fired in retaliation for posting the video of Sterling’s death.
Once again, LeDay utilized his large social media following to provide an account of his arrest:
LeDay’s arrest is similar to what happened after the filming of another police shooting, US Uncut notes:
LeDay’s story is similar to that of Ramsey Orta, the videographer of the Eric Garner killing, who claims he was unfairly targeted for other crimes after his role in filming the incident and is currently facing four years in prison on weapons and drugs charges.
Over the weekend, hundreds of people were arrested at Black Lives Matters rallies around the country, “in many cases seemingly without cause,” Jezebel reports. Notably, activist and Truthdigger DeRay Mckesson was arrested in Baton Rouge:
1 day ago, just last night, we saw the police abuse their power & intentionally provoke protestors in order to create & exploit conflict.
— deray mckesson (@deray) July 10, 2016
After his release, Mckesson told The New York Times that he believes his arrest was unlawful. “What we saw in Baton Rouge was a police department that chose to provoke protesters to create, like, a context of conflict they could exploit,” he said. LeDay expressed similar sentiments. “We need to diffuse what the cops are doing,” he told PINAC. “It just keeps getting worse and people are getting tired of it. I just want some change to occur.”
—Posted by Emma Niles