Ferguson activist Mike Avery — who had just returned from protests in Minneapolis — was arrested at his St. Louis County home in front of his parents and children at around 1 p.m. today, according to Avery’s own Facebook Live video.
It’s unclear from the video where the law enforcement officers were from, but family members said they had F.B.I written on their non-distinct uniforms. They said they were arresting him on a warrant for a minor traffic violation that he had out of University City, according to a legal team supporting him. He is currently being held at the St. Louis County Justice Center. Protestors have now gathered in front of the county jail in Clayton.
Avery, 28, had just come back Saturday from Minneapolis, where he had live-streamed on Facebook on several occasions.
In the Facebook Live video of his arrest, Avery asked the officers to see some paperwork.
“You don’t have to see paperwork,” one officer said. “It’s been signed. We’re going to put handcuffs on you, we’re going to put you in the car and we’re going to take you to the station, okay?”
Avery responded, “I have my daughter right here, so I don’t want to cause any problems.”
Avery asked if he could hand his phone to his mother. The officers said he could.
After a minute, Avery told his mother to keep the phone pointed on him because he was “live.”
At that point the officers came over to his mother and said, “We are going to need that phone back.”
His mother said, “No, you can’t confiscate my phone.”
But Avery calmly told his mother not to resist the officer, and she handed the phone over.
Avery is heard saying that he believes he was being taken because he exercised his First Amendment rights.
“Because that’s all that I did out here is voice my opinion,” he said. “You all got a problem with me voicing my opinion?”
Then one officer is heard saying that they need to turn it off because it’s live-streaming. The video shut off at about two minutes.
This story is developing.