Culture

DeRay Mckesson Describes What Went Through His Head During His Arrest In Baton Rouge

Black Lives Matter activist Deray McKesson was one of 100 protestors who was arrested last weekend in Baton Rouge, while protesting the killing of Alton Sterling. On Friday’s Late Show With Stephen Colbert, McKesson talked about what getting arrested was like.

In telling that story, McKesson has a lot of interesting things to say about the role of protest in the Black Lives Matter movement:

When I think about protests, I think about it as this idea of telling the truth in public. And what we’ve been doing with our bodies is telling the truth that Philando, Alton, so many people should still be alive. And what’s powerful is that these conversations, I hope, are leading to better conversations about solutions. So when we think about the protests in Baton Rouge, we think about — you know, I didn’t plan to get arrested. But so many people got arrested, that really brought attention to the crisis with the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Colbert interjects, “You didn’t plan to get arrested, but it really does look art directed.” He’s referring to an widely circulated photo of McKesson kneeling and facing a camera, while police officers handcuff him.

McKesson takes that statement in stride, saying, “I had a moment where I was like, ‘If I resist arrest, it’ll be a real problem. So I just had to find this moment of peace, and just say like, ‘I’m okay with it. And I’m just gonna go.'” This is all in service to a larger conversation that he’s had with police chiefs, President Obama and others about how to change a “culture that’s broken” within many police departments. The full interview is worth watching.

×