One Equal World

Black LGBT Activist Arrested in North Carolina

Posted on: September 8, 2014

As activists gathered to participate in Charlotte, North Carolina’s Moral Monday event last week, promoting the importance of combating voter suppression and racial profiling, a relevant event was happening just a parking lot away: Activist and former State Senate candidate Ty Turner was arrested for distributing leaflets on parked cars. The arrest, caught on cell phone video by a fellow activist, shows Turner, a black activist for LGBT rights, questioning police about their actions and receiving no response.

“They said they would charge me for distributing literature,” Turner commented after his release from jail. “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!”

Instead of taking Turner directly to jail, police transported him to three other locations before finally delivering him to the jail to receive a citation.

Though the video, taken by Turner’s friend and fellow activist Casey Throneburg, shows the officers telling Turner he was under arrest, a police department spokesperson told the press that he was detained but not charged.

Even if the officers couldn’t name the specific ordinance they were trying to enforce, Throneburg said there is, in fact, one on the books, though it’s rarely enforced and “certainly not with handcuffs.”

When they heard what had happened, thirty of the Moral Monday activists marched to the jailhouse and demanded Turner’s release.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department did not choose to comment.

Reverend Dr. William Barber, the founder of Moral Mondays and President of the North Carolina NAACP, said the incident illustrated the urgent need to promote voting in the African American community.

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