Keith Boykin has spoken out about being arrested and detained in New York City while documenting a protest, saying that police have “too much power” and “make matters worse.”
The gay journalist and broadcaster, who is a CNN and CNBC contributor, was taking photos and videos at a recent protest over the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
In a series of tweets, Boykin said that he identified himself as a member of the press to NYPD officers, who then “walked by me and then turned around and arrested me.”
“The police locked me in tight zip ties that bruised my wrists. They held me in a van for an hour. Then a hot police bus for an hour,” he tweeted. “Then they took me to 1 Police Plaza and held me in a jail cell with about 35 others with no social distancing and many of the others unmasked.”
Boykin said he was photographed, but no one read his Miranda rights and he wasn’t charged with “any serious crime.”
“After 6 hours in police custody, they finally let me out of jail with a summons to appear in court,” he wrote. “The police have way too much power.”
Boykin repeated that sentiment in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, saying he was in front of the protesters with his camera, documenting the march.
“I was in front of the protesters with my camera so I could video and take photos. And the police came,” Boykin said. “I said, ‘I’m with the press.’ They walked by me, but then they turned around and they arrested me anyway. I asked, ‘why am I being arrested?’ and they said, ‘well, you’re blocking the highway.'”
Boykin said that he wasn’t blocking the highway, “because the police and the protesters were blocking the highway and I was in between the two of them. I was simply photographing what was taking place and documenting what was happening.”
“They could have just said, ‘you need to move off the highway or you going to be arrested.’ They didn’t bother to do that,” he continued. “They just arrested me. The police have too much power.”
He again described his arrest and detainment, and said that when he was eventually released, he was given a court summons accusing him of “walking on the highway” and “disorderly conduct – blocking vehicular traffic.”
“So often the police actually don’t de-escalate, but they make matters worse, and that’s what people are protesting about,” Boykin said. “That’s why they’re so upset about George Floyd right now. It saddens me there’s been a horrible week for everybody in America.”
Protests have taken place nationwide in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Derek Chauvin, the white officer who knelt on his neck and ignored his cries for help, has been charged with third-degree murder, though activists are demanding that the three other officers involved in Floyd’s detainment are also arrested and charged.
Floyd’s death came after a number of other incidents involving racism and police violence aimed at black Americans, including Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT who on March 13 was shot to death in her home by Louisville, Ky., police, and Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old man who was shot to death while jogging Brunswick, Ga., after two white men chased him down and confronted him.
The day after Floyd’s death, Christian Cooper, a black man and trailblazing gay editor, filmed a white woman calling police on him and falsely claiming that he was trying to attack her in Central Park after he asked her to put her dog on a leash.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!