Hundreds of activists around the country attended the first Black Lives Matter conference that was held this past weekend in Cleveland, Ohio.
What was supposed to be a peaceful gathering, uniting civil rights activists from all over turned into an arrest of a 14 year old boy and a police officer unjustly pepper spraying the crowd of protesters.
Sources state the reason the teen was arrested was because he was drunk. When protesters seen the boy in handcuffs they became concerned and crowded to the area to understand what was happening. After pleading to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority officers to no avail, the crowd united and locked arms to prevent the police cruiser from leaving the scene with the teen in the backseat.
Video was recorded on several cell phones which show the protesters were not unruly and officers were not in harm’s way, yet one cop decided to pepper spray the crowd to get them to disperse. The Daily News reports that the crowd was “taunting” the officers for apparently not calling the boy’s mother during the arrest. Even if that was the case, aren’t police officers supposed to know how to properly react under stress? I don’t see how taunts, questions, nagging, or whatever you want to term it, should result in pepper spray.
Nevertheless that was the action the officer took and it was recorded on video. Those injured used milk to ease the burn and the protesters comforted each other.
Transit Authority officials claim protesters tried to take the boy out of the cruiser, but there’s no video of that and no arrests were made. The teen’s mother arrived and he was released to her and they drove away.
The protesters celebrated his release by chanting, jumping and cheering. In the end there was still unity among the activists and this incident of police brutality only furthers the cause for the Black Lives Matter movement.