Joseph Kent is a well-known protestor who was arrested in such a forceful, shady manner on Tuesday night that social media is dubbing it a kidnapping. The shocking thing is that it was all caught on CNN’s cameras. And now, the world wants to know where he is!
The 21-year-old Black student at Morgan State University was standing with his hands up alongside a line of police officers, who were suited up in riot gear right before 11 p.m. Then, a National Guard humvee drove up and officers swarmed Kent. The rest happens behind the vehicle, making it difficult to see what’s happening to Kent as he’s accosted by police.
Baltimore has been put on a strict curfew of 10 p.m. to help quiet down the rioting plaguing the city.
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.”
“They drove the vehicle up and when it got close enough to create a wedge they ran out an grabbed him, pinned him against that and arrested him,” CNN anchor Chris Cuomo said. He also told viewers Tuesday night that police had earlier shot pepper spray at the young protester as he approached their line in the street.
Since many of us were tuned into CNN, we spotted the alleged “arrest” and we weren’t alone. Social media was abuzz with the brutal visual, demanding answers:
Kent became widely known in his community after Michael Brown‘s untimely death at the hands of White police officer Darren Wilson. Back in November, he was interviewed by the Baltimore City Paper and talked about keeping the peace while standing with Ferguson and he said, “The protesting, the marching, and the movement, it was important to a lot of people out there.” Kent continues, “Of course, it’s Baltimore and you’re gonna have the ones who wanna be violent and ignorant and stuff like that, but the majority of the people were of one accord and wanted to send a message to the people that don’t understand what is going on and blind to what is happening that it is just not OK to kill our young people.”
When a local journalist called the Baltimore Police Department, she was told that Kent was “arrested for breaking the law and is in jail.”
A local attorney, Stephen Beatty, who said he would offer Kent his services pro bono, Tweeted early Wednesday morning that Kent was safe and at Baltimore Central Booking.
“As a service to the community I can confirm that Mr. Kent is at CBIF awaiting processing. Report is he is ok and safe,” he said. “Due to large numbers of arrests, processing is slow. He is not even in system yet. More will be known in about five hours. I do not yet rep him although I will gladly if he wants me to. But everyone breathe. No longer in [Baltimore Police Department] hands. [Correctional officers] have him. Safer,” he said.
We’re hoping Beatty has correct information and that Kent is indeed safe. There’s no hiding the footage that appeared live on CNN.