News (USA)

Black, gay journalist Keith Boykin arrested covering George Floyd protests

Keith Boykin on CNN
Keith Boykin on CNN Photo: Screenshot/YouTube

CNN contributor and former White House aide Keith Boykin was arrested over the weekend while covering a protest against police brutality and institutionalized racism that occurred in New York City.

The protest was one of many held across the country this past week in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd while he was handcuffed and held in police custody. Video recorded at the scene shows Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for at least seven minutes while Floyd said he couldn’t breathe.

Related: Police shot out pop star Halsey with rubber bullets during police brutality protest

Three other officers who were involved in the death have not yet been arrested.

Boykin said that he was taking pictures and video in Harlem of a protest that was “entirely peaceful.” As the protest moved to the West Side, though, police said that they would make arrests.

In a CNN segment, the gay, black journalist said that he was standing ahead of the protest while traffic had been shut down when police approached him. He told CNN’s Don Lemon that he identified himself as a member of the press.

“I turned around, and they arrested me anyway,” he said. He says he was told after he was arrested that he was “blocking the highway,” which he said he wasn’t true because “the police and the protestors” were already blocking traffic.

“I was simply photographing what was taking place and documenting what was happening,” he said.

On Twitter, Boykin explained in more detail that he was held in a police van with his hands in zip ties that left bruises. He was then taken to the police station and held “in a jail cell with about 35 others with no social distancing and many of the others unmasked.”

In fact, he said that police took off the mask that he had on to take a picture of him and he couldn’t put it back on.

The police took my photo but they never read me my Miranda rights and never charged me with any serious crime,” he tweeted. “After 6 hours in police custody, they finally let me out of jail with a summons to appear in court.”

He said that he was charged with misdemeanor counts of “walking on the highway” and “disorderly conduct – blocking vehicular traffic.” On CNN, Boykin said that police never warned him or told him to get off of the highway.

All over the country, police officers have been targeting members of the press during the protests. The Guardian reports that there were at least 50 incidents where the police shot at, teargassed, or arrested journalists on Friday and Saturday.

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