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Journalist Keith Boykin Arrested at NYC Protest, Held for Six Hours

Keith Boykin

Journalist Keith Boykin was arrested and detained in New York City over the weekend while photographing and filming the protests against police brutality and the recent killings of Black people by police officers despite having identified himself as a member of the press. Boykin said the police did not read him his Miranda rights or allow him to make a phone call.

In an interview with CNN's Don Lemon, Boykin said he had been ahead of the protest documenting it as it moved south from Harlem toward the West Side Highway. But by the time the “almost entirely peaceful” protest, as Boykin described it, hit the highway, police began arresting people.

“I was simply photographing what was taking place and documenting what was happening,” Boykin said. Later, Boykin was told he was arrested for blocking the highway, which he said could not be true considering “police and protesters” were already blocking traffic and he was between them chronicling the event.

“I turned around, and they arrested me anyway,” Boykin said, adding that his hands were zip-tied.

A contributor to CNN and a former White House aide, Boykin, who is gay, said he sat in a van for more than an hour before being taken to the police station where he was placed in a cell with about 35 other people who’d been arrested at the protest. He was held there for at least four hours without being afforded his right to make a phone call. He was finally let go with a summons to appear in court for blocking a highway.

“The police have too much power,” Boykin said. “So often the police don’t deescalate. They make matters worse. And that’s what people are protesting.”

“That’s why everyone is so upset about George Floyd right now,” he said.

Nationwide protests began earlier this week in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of an officer, Derek Chauvin, who was finally arrested and charged with third-degree murder, although three other officers who watched Floyd die have yet to be arrested. Floyd is just one of several Black people who have been killed by police or others in the past few months.

Fatal incidents against Black Americans include the shooting of Louisville, Ky., resident Breonna Taylor by police who entered her home, and the killing Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, in which three white men have been charged with murder. There is also an epidemic of violence against Black transgender Americans. Black trans man Tony McDade was killed by police in Florida last week.

Watch Boykin's interview with Lemon below. 

Tags: News, Race

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