Taurean Russell, a black community organizer who was been working to mobilize residents since Michael Brown was gunned down by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, was arrested earlier in the week. At a press event, he recounted his arrest.
During the evening, Russell had been on multiple mainstream news programs. He had the opportunity to meet rapper Talib Kweli. He decided to explain to Kweli how unlikely it was that Brown could get from the Ferguson Market, where authorities alleged he stole cigars, to Canfield Drive, where Wilson shot him.
Russell said he left the area on West Florissant Avenue, where community has been gathering for nightly demonstrations, and police were following them. And, at some point, police were yelling, “There he goes in the gray shirt! Get him!”
Once he was arrested, according to Russell, he heard the officer say, “We finally got him. We finally got one of those animals and that’s the one we want.”
Russell was taken to the central police station in Clayton, Missouri, which is about a twenty-minute drive from Ferguson. In jail, Russell saw a Turkish photographer, a Canadian journalist, an “undocumented man from Mexico,” a paramedic, a lawyer and even a “rich guy, who wanted to see the protests and how real was racism and what was really going on.”
“My response to him was, did it get real for you yet?”
On the media, he said it was crazy that journalists were being put in jail, but that police were “trying to block the cameras” because a lot of what is happening occurs every day to people like him. And there is “no accountability.” Police lock young black men up, they go missing and family has to try and figure out what happened.
Russell explained that parents have to teach their child “survival skills” to not be killed by police. Or, children can grow up and decide to stand up for themselves and “become Mike Brown.”
“Any response, if he said hello, if he didn’t jump out of the street fast enough—It’s basically like they’re giving [police] a license to kill.”
*More video from the press event to be posted soon.