Protests in solidarity with Ferguson, Missouri have taken place across the world since August 9th and in the wake of this week’s ‘no indictment’ announcement, they have grown tremendously in size and scope. Among them: a massive rally in front of the CNN headquarters in Atlanta, a City Hall sit-in in Chicago and the shutting down of roads, highways and bridges in places such as New York City, Los Angeles, Oakland and Seattle. A planned action in Miami on Tuesday resulted in the arrest of two members of the Dream Defenders, the Florida-based activist group that came to national prominence in the wake of the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012.
According to Ahmad Abuznaid, the Dream Defenders’ Legal and Policy Director, members of the organization participated in a planned non-violent protest at the Metro Justice Building as an act of solidarity with the Ferguson resistance movement. The location was selected as a nod to the McDuffie Riots of 1980, which took place after the acquittal of four Miami-Dade police officers who beat brutally beat a Black motorist following a high-speed chase. That man, Arthur McDuffie, later died of his injuries.
As police anticipated the gathering, they had put caution tape up to prevent protestors from entering the center. The tape was cut by one of the participants in the action and Jeremy Shaw, a young organizer with the Dream Defenders, placed one foot past the barrier that had been established by police and then stepped forward. He was immediately tackled and cuffed. According to witness accounts, Philip Agnew, Executive Director of the Dream Defenders and a 2014 EBONY Power 100 honoree and attempted to question why Shaw was brutally accosted and he, too, was immediately placed into police custody.
The Dream Defenders have been asking for support in raising bail for the two men, which is said to be upwards of $3,000.
— The Dream Defenders (@Dreamdefenders) November 26, 2014
Both men are being held by the Miami Police Department, awaiting arraignment. According to Abuznaid, they may be charged with failure to obey lawful order and 2nd degree trespassing (both common charges for protest actions.) They will likely go before a judge in the morning and are said to be unharmed.
UPDATE: both Agnew and Shaw were released in the early hours of the morning. We will continue to update this story as it develops.