Black LGBT Activist Arrested For Distributing Voting Rights Information

Police in Charlotte, North Carolina, arrested a black LGBT activist and former state Senate candidate Monday, saying that he violated a city ordinance by distributing literature about voting rights and candidates on parked cars.

The arrest of Ty Turner, who was attending a Moral Mondays-affiliated rally at a park in Charlotte, was particularly poignant given that the event was held to condemn the state's record on voting rights and racial profiling.

"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!"

Watch a video Turner took of his arrest below:

The police took Turner to an empty parking lot after handcuffing him, rather than transporting him directly to the Mecklenburg County jail.

"They took me to three different spots other than the jail," he told ThinkProgress. "They knew they were in the wrong."

Though the officers told Turner he was "under arrest," a police department spokeswoman told a local LGBT publication that he was detained, but not charged.

About 30 rally attendees marched to the Charlotte jailhouse to demand Turner's release. The marchers included the Rev. William J. Barber II, the state NAACP president; the Rev. Kojo Nantambu, the Charlotte NAACP president; and Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham. Turner was ultimately given a citation but was not processed.

Turner lost the primary race to run for the state's District 40 Senate seat in May.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department did not return a request for comment.



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