A prominent community organizer in Baltimore was shown to be taken into custody live on CNN by a group of National Guard troops. That man has been named as 21-year-old Joseph Kent. This is the latest incident relating to the Freddie Gray riots that has caused outrage.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Video Shows Kent Being Rushed by 5 National Guardsmen
In the clip you can see Kent walking across a street with his hands up. Soon an armored hum-vee drives towards him. When it’s in front of him, CNN cameras show a group of National Guard troops surrounding Kent and throwing him in. It should be noted that the incident happened after the 10 p.m. curfew that has been enforced on the city following nights of civil unrest. The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery tweeted “I watched Joseph Kent spend hours trying to clear young people from street & keep them from rioting last night in Baltimore.”
Baltimore based lawyer Stephen Beatty tweeted at 2:30 a.m. that Kent was at Baltimore Central Booking & Intake Center awaiting processing. The day after the arrest, Beatty said that Kent’s name wasn’t on “the list of people being presented for bail reviews.” He did however add that there was “chaos” at booking. Beatty hopes that Kent will be released on his own recognizance.
2. He’s Been Described as ‘Martin Luther King With Tattoos & Gold Fronts’
According to his LinkedIn page, Kent is a student at Morgan State University. He’s studying music at the school. Since January 2014, he’s also worked as an administrative assistant at Morgan. The school is an historically black institution located in Baltimore. He told the Baltimore City Paper in November 2014 that he had been involved in organizing since he was in middle school. He added:
Everyone knows me at Morgan already, organizing and making sure everything running the correct way and peaceful 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.
3. He First Rose to Prominence During the Ferguson Protests
Kent first rose to public fame thanks to his organization of Baltimore’s protests against the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Kent told the City Press in Baltimore that he was galvanized to protest after that shooting after he heard the words of Brown’s father.
That shooting, which happened in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, sparked national protests. MSNBC reported in December 2014 that Kent had brought a group of protesters to Washington D.C. as part of Al Sharpton’s Justice for All march.
4. There Has Been Outrage & Panic on Twitter After Kent’s Apprehension
News of Kent’s apprehension sparked outrage on Twitter.
5. The City of Baltimore Is in a State of Emergency
The Baltimore Sun reported on April 28 that there was a heavy National Guard presence in the city after the rioting. Officials had said that there were around 2,000 soldiers on the ground. Baltimore police told the media on April 29 that 209 people were arrested on Monday and only 35 on Tuesday. Most of the 35 were for curfew violations and most haven’t been officially charged yet.