An openly-gay activist and former state Senate candidate was attending a recent rally to condemn North Carolina’s record on racial profiling and voting suppression when he was arrested by police for placing voting rights information on parked cars, the Huffington Post reports. The police claimed that Ty Turner had violated a city ordinance prohibiting leafleting on vehicles.
"They said they would charge me for distributing literature," Turner told ThinkProgress after he was released from jail. "I asked [the policeman] for the ordinance number [being violated], because they can't put handcuffs on you if they cannot tell you why they're detaining you. I said, 'Show me where it's illegal to do this.' But he would not do it. The officer got mad and grabbed me. Then he told me that I was resisting arrest!”
When the rally leaders found out about Turner’s arrest, they convinced about 30 attendees to march to the jail to demand his release, ThinkProgress reports. North Carolina's NAACP president
Rev. William J. Barber II, Charlotte NAACP president Rev. Kojo Nantambu and Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham were also on hand to participate in the march.
According to Turner, the officers did not take him directly to the jail house, but, instead, brought him to an empty parking lot behind a highway and two other random locations.
"They knew they were in the wrong,” Turner said.
The police ultimately released Turner with a citation and told the crowd of supporters that he would not be charged.
“I always tell people, ‘Know the law. Know what your rights are. You’ve got power,” he said. “The law works for you only if you know it.”
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(Photo: Casey Throneburg via Youtube)
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