Jamilah Nasheed, a Missouri state senator, was still in jail Tuesday morning after police took her and another man into custody in front of the Ferguson Police Station Monday night.
Update, 11 a.m. - Nasheed has been released. She says she was arrested trying to demonstrate non-violent disobedience and denies she was just pulling a publicity stunt. More below.
Police warned the group of protesters gathered at the station -- the site of near-constant protests since a Ferguson officer shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown -- that officers would arrest anyone who stood in the roadway.
But that didn't stop Nasheed. At 8:35 p.m. she and Jefonte Nelson stepped into the street and refused to move when the on-site St. Louis County police commander threatened them with arrest.
Here's the official report of what happened next from St. Louis County police:
Both Nasheed and Nelson were told by the commander they were in violation of City of Ferguson ordinance and asked them numerous times to move out of the street or they would be arrested. After both subjects remained in the street, failing to comply, officers took both subjects into custody without incident. Both subjects were advised they were under arrest for violating the City of Ferguson ordinance for walking in a roadway where sidewalks accessible.
In videos documenting her arrest, Nasheed is smiling and chanting as she is arrested. Several times she calls out, "No justice," and protesters respond, "No peace."
Nasheed refused to pay her $600 bond to be released from jail in St. Ann, her attorney and a fellow demonstrator Eric Vickers tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Vickers said Nasheed wanted to set an example for other protesters before a St. Louis grand jury decides whether or not to indict Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Brown.
"She wants to present this as an alternative to any sort of violent action," Vickers tells the P-D.
Nasheed's arrest will bring the spotlight back, if only briefly, to the streets of Ferguson. Protests outside of Ferguson have been gaining in frequency and notoriety, such as a demonstration outside of a St. Louis Rams game downtown where protesters clashed with fans who stole their upside-down American flag. A mother and her minor daughter, both protesters, were arrested.
Nasheed has been an occasional presence at protests in Ferguson, though she hasn't been as active as Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a Missouri state senator who interrupted an August Ferguson Police Department press conference to demand to know why she had been tear gassed, or Antonio French, a St. Louis city alderman whose videos of the protests' early days spread around the world.
Nasheed's arrest seemed to irk battle-hardened protesters.
"She was the only one marching by herself and some dude she marched with," protester Tony Rice tells the Post. "All of us protesting have been here all day. Then she shows up maybe fifteen minutes ago, starting this crap. She was not over here protesting with us at all."
Update, 11 a.m. - Nasheed denies her arrest was a publicity stunt. She says she was trying to demonstrate non-violent resistance.
Update 11:40 a.m.: KMOV says Nasheed, who has a concealed carry permit, was carrying a gun at the time of her arrest. When police tried to conduct a breathalyzer test, she refused.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.