Ty Turner, a gay activist and former candidate for the North Carolina State Senate, was arrested by police near Marshall Park in Charlotte, N.C., for placing leaflets about voting rights on cars in a parking lot.
The incident happened on Labor Day near a "Moral Mondays" rally in the park, which local activists have participated in for months to protest Republican lawmakers.
In a video (below) shot by activist Casey Throneburg, Turner, who is black, is confronted by two white Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers who approach him on bikes and tell him to put his cell phone away.
Turner asked the police officers to name the ordinance that he was violating, but on the video the police officers do not say. Instead, the police tell him to put down his cell phone.
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Turner repeatedly states that he has the right to film the police with his cell phone, but they soon take him into custody.
One officer states, “You are under arrest,” while the second adds, "Stop resisting."
However, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police spokesperson Jessica Wallin told Goqnotes.com that Turner was detained, not arrested.
After Turner was released, he told ThinkProgress.org, “They said they would charge me for distributing literature. I asked [the policeman] for the ordinance number [being violated], because they can’t put handcuffs on you if they cannot tell you why they’re detaining you. I said, ‘Show me where it’s illegal to do this.’ But he would not do it. The officer got mad and grabbed me. Then he told me that I was resisting arrest!”
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ThinkProgress.org notes that there is a local law against placing leaflets on cars, but Turner was not immediately taken to a nearby police station after being arrested.
"They took me to three different spots other than the jail,” Turner told ThinkProgress.org. “They knew they were in the wrong.”
"Moral Mondays" activists marched to the local jail to demand that police free Turner. While they waited, NAACP president Cornell William Brooks reportedly called the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to ask for Turner’s release, and minutes later the crowd was told that Turner would be issued a citation and released.