Baltimore activist will return to “keep the peace” despite arrest

30 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Baltimore activist ‘kidnapped’ on live TV is in jail despite having hands up ‘the whole time’.

Protesters have called on police to “release” a prominent student campaigner in Baltimore after footage was aired of him appearing to be bundled into a van by the US National Guard live on TV.Sixteen hours after Joseph Kent, 21, was filmed being snatched by police out of a road in the west side of the city, the Guardian has established his whereabouts. Identified locally as 21-year-old Joseph Kent, social media users claimed police had targeted a man who was organising and addressing protesters peacefully at the time, as well as at the speed and abruptness of what they called his “kidnapping”.

The Morgan State University student is currently in a large bullpen with other inmates on the second floor of Baltimore central booking, a jail 10 minutes from the city hall. He has featured prominently in civil action before, and was credited with organising Baltimore’s local protests against the Ferguson shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, according to a report on Kent, who has been charged with one count of breach of a 10pm curfew, wants the public to know he is “well and safe” and is asking Baltimore residents to follow his lead by refraining from violence.

Speaking to the Baltimore City Paper in November last year, he said that “everyone knows me at Morgan already… [for] making sure everything is running peaceful[ly] and everything like that”. “So, everybody already knows I’m going to do things the right way, so when everybody else and community people and civilians and people who joined and saw that the Morgan students were looking up to it, before you knew it, the whole city was on my back and I was just carrying the whole city.” Baltimore has erupted into protests in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died under mysterious circumstances of a spinal-cord injury while in police custody. The demonstrations have now spread to New York and Boston, with protesters in Manhattan’s Union Square chanting” no justice, no peace“ and ”hands up, don’t shoot,“ a reference to the police killing of Mr Brown. Beatty said he had to draw on local law enforcement contacts and tip-offs to help locate the young man in the chaos of the city’s overflowing jail system. He described his client as initially “tickled” by the social media firestorm, but then said he asked his attorney to convey to the public he was safe. According to Beatty, the 21-year-old was imploring others to remain peaceful and return home when he was “snatched” off the street. “His description was very similar to what happened on television,” Beatty said. “As the video shows, he was trying to get people to leave.

He didn’t see the humvee coming, he didn’t hear the humvee coming,” Beatty said. “All he knew was that suddenly he was cut off from the cameras.

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