Police arrested a state senator during a protest on Monday night in Ferguson, Missouri, where unrest continues as residents await the detainment of Officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August.
Missouri state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, a Democrat of St. Louis, joined her fellow residents in a gathering outside of the Ferguson Police Department on Monday. Officers requested the demonstrators refrain from entering the street, or risk arrest, said Public Information Coordinator Sgt. Brian Schellman. Nasheed, along with another individual, Jefonte Nelson, reportedly failed to comply with the authorities’ orders. Police arrested them because they allegedly violated a City of Ferguson ordinance for walking in a roadway where sidewalks are accessible.
Police asked both Nasheed and Nelson “numerous times” to move out of the street, Schellman said.
Ironically, the late teen was allegedly stopped by Wilson for acting similarly. In the days following Brown’s death, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said the officer initially stopped Brown for walking in the street and blocking traffic.
Nasheed’s arrest was her way of offering an “alternative” to violence if the grand jury fails to indict Wilson, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Attorney Eric Vickers seemed to confirm with the local newspaper on Monday that Nasheed’s arrest was intentional.
But other protesters appeared not to support the lawmaker. One demonstrator admitted to not knowing that she was an elected official, and said she probably “has constituents she needs to impress.”
“She was the only one marching by herself and some dude she marched with,” another individual told the Dispatch. “All of us protesting have been here all day. Then she shows up maybe 15 minutes ago, starting this crap. She was not over here protesting with us at all.”
Hours after her arrest, the crowd reportedly booed activist Anthony Shaid when he updated the protests on Nasheed’s status.
Wilson, who is white, fatally shot the African-American teen on Aug. 9. The grand jury, which has been hearing evidence since Aug. 20, is considering charges against Wilson. Last week, The New York Times reported that Wilson told investigators he was pinned to his vehicle and was in fear for his life as he struggled over his gun with Brown. The officer hasn’t spoken publicly since Brown’s death.
Protesters want Wilson arrested immediately. Previously, they told msnbc that they are forming a contingency plan should the grand jury panelists choose not to indict Wilson, which could begin a fresh round of outrage from residents.
Other elected officials previously refused demands from officers. At a protest in August, Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal sat in the street and initially denied obeying authorities’ requests to move.