Ieshia Evans behind protest powerful image

July 11, 2016 7:30 pm

A
demonstrator protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained
by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police
Department. Photo / Reuters

It is the photo seen around the world: A young woman in a flowing
dress standing with her arms crossed facing down a line of heavily armed
police while two armoured officers rush forward to put her in
handcuffs.
Now it can be revealed that she is Ieshia Evans, 28, a
mother and licensed practical nurse from New York, who was attending
her first protest when she was arrested.
Natasha Haynes, a
lifelong friend of Evans, said she travelled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana,
following the shooting of Alton Sterling because
she “wanted a better
future for her 5-year-old son”.
Haynes said: “She’s a vision with
a beautiful heart and peaceful stance in life. I’ve known her for 20
years. She was the maid of honour at my wedding. I’m a godmother to her
son.
“She’s everything to me and I’m just happy she’s safe, not
hurt and – most importantly – happy that she got up and did something
about injustices here in the states.”

Haynes explained that Evans, a nurse’s assistant, was
“overcome with emotion” while watching the demonstrations on TV and
decided to take action.
She left her son behind with his father
in New York and travelled to the protest site where she was taking part
in the main demonstration shortly before she was arrested.
Haynes
said that the fateful moment she was arrested came when officers
attempted to push the crowd back from the Baton Rouge Police Department,
despite the protest being peaceful until that point.
Evans told
her: “I went into the street with my arms crossed and just stared at
them. I guess they didn’t like it because they detained me.”
While Evans said that the arrest was a little
rough, while in jail she said a kind officer made sure all of the
demonstrators were treated well.
Police records show she was held
overnight before being booked and released earlier today, and she is
now in her hotel room in Louisiana recovering from her ordeal.
Evans
said: “I just need you people to know. I appreciate the well wishes and
love, but this is the work of God. I am a vessel! Glory to the most
high! I’m glad I’m alive and safe. And that there were no casualties
that I have witnessed first hand.”
Evans was one of more than 100
people to be arrested in Baton Rouge on Saturday, including prominent
Black Lives Matter member DeRay McKesson who was walking along the side
of a highway when he was ordered to get on his knees and handcuffed.
At least two journalists were also detained during the demonstrations, the Advocate
reported, while police said that two of their officers were injured,
including one who lost several teeth after being struck with “a
projectile”.
Louisiana State Police spokesman Major Doug Cain
said that in total 102 people were arrested on Saturday, with most of
those being charged with “obstruction of a highway”, believed to be the
charge that Evans is facing.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards
said he was proud of how the police had handled the protests so far,
saying law enforcement had responded in a “moderate” manner. He also
said the vast majority of protesters had acted lawfully and
nonviolently.
Edwards said, however: “It is not … appropriate to allow them to simply block a major thoroughfare like Airline Highway.”
Protesters
from Louisiana or out of state will not be allowed “to incite hate and
violence, to engage in unlawful activities,” Edwards told a
conference. “Now I want to be very clear. That will not be tolerated.”
Baton
Rouge police confiscated three rifles, three shotguns and two pistols
at Saturday night’s protest and were wearing helmets, shields and body
armour.
Police said those arrested ignored repeated orders to
stay out of the street, while demonstrators said officers charged into
the crowds seemingly without any obvious provocation.
“The only
people who were violent last night were the Baton Rouge Police
department,” Mckesson told reporters after his release. “The protesters
remained peaceful, both here and across the country.”

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