A student campaigner, known for his activism in protesting for African-American civil rights amidst the police controversy, Joseph Kent, has been leading Baltimore protests until his arrest by police on Tuesday, which outraged the protesters who support him. Protesters who are now claiming that police “kidnapped” Kent, are demanding his release and inquiring about his whereabouts, with no results. Protesters are hitting up social media at a new level, telling citizens to call the Baltimore police department and ask about Kent, and claiming injustice while making their statements. Given the nature of the police arrest, live, which showed an armored vehicle driving up, as members of the National Guard “swarm” Kent before he disappears, protesters are uneasy about the event, claiming that police specifically targeted him for his organization of protests. However, police statements, so far, have reflected that Kent was protesting after the newly enforced curfew, leading to his arrest.
Joseph Kent was previously just a normal student of Morgan State University. He worked as a campus administrative assistant, while not in classes, and was supposedly known for his peaceful way of doing things. Kent has been credited by the news as the person responsible for organizing protests in Baltimore, when Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson. As Kent was an active participant in the newly created Baltimore protests, protesting the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, his name and face have become widely known by many. As his methods of protests were peaceful, according to his supporters, his arrest created even more protest, of course.
Asking the question, “Where is Joseph Kent,” protesters are demanding that police give them some answers. According to the live video shown on CNN, Kent was still out past curfew, but as nothing has been seen of him since his arrest on Tuesday night, police have only given fuel to the flames. Protesters express concern over Kent’s safety, something which police should probably be taking care of quickly. As citizens around the nation are already against police, more recently the Baltimore police, their “kidnapping” of Kent is causing protesters anger to grow even larger. As events seen lately have highlighted the fact that protesters are growing more violent in their actions, keeping Kent from them is probably not a smart move.
Protesters have launched a sort-of campaign to see the release of Kent from police custody. Ignoring the fact that Kent was out past the new 10 p.m. curfew that Baltimore set in response to the growing protests, followers of Kent and protesters alike are blaming police and screaming conspiracy. Using words like kidnapped and abducted, social media users spent the night posting a request that supporters stay awake until they know what happened to Joseph Kent. As Kent was arrested Tuesday by Baltimore police and no word has been heard by protesters, their outrage is sure to expand to violence if police do not respond soon.
As citizens believe that African-American citizens are not safe in the hands of police, Kent’s arrest on Tuesday night will only continue to cause problems for the city and outraged protesters. Kent’s arrest, it seems, will also cause major problems for the Baltimore police, if he is not released soon. Though his arrest was supposedly due to his ignoring curfew, and was supposedly peacefully performed by members of the National Guard who were called in by city officials, protesters just do not see it that way and with the growing un-trust of police, it is likely that they will never see it that way.
By Crystal Boulware