SYRACUSE, New York — Black Lives Matter activists on Friday protested the arrest of an anti-violence advocate who was taken into custody while videotaping officers frisking a handcuffed motorist.
Maurice Crawley, 52, was standing across the street from a traffic stop in Syracuse, streaming the video live on his Facebook page Thursday when one of the officers shouted that if he said “one word,” he’d be arrested.
When Crawley asked the officer to repeat himself, the officer strode across the street and placed him under arrest while swearing at him.
Crawley, the officer and the motorist are all black.
Crawley, a well-known local advocate against gun violence, pleaded not guilty Friday in Syracuse City Court to charges of obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest. He was released on his own recognizance. His attorney wasn’t available for comment.
Crawley was met with loud cheers from about two dozen Black Lives Matter protesters as he walked out of the Onondaga County Justice Center late Friday morning after spending the night in jail.
“He was within his legal rights, yet he was thrown to the ground. We need this to stop,” said Herve Comeau, the Black Lives Matter organizer.
Police said they’re conducting an internal investigation of Crawley’s arrest.
At the start of the nearly four-minute video showing a white officer and a black officer arresting a motorist, Crawley can be heard saying he decided to go live to “see what’s going on with these boys, make sure they’re doing everything they’re supposed to be doing.”
A few seconds later, Crawley zooms in on the black officer handcuffing and searching the man who had been in a car the officers pulled over. Crawley can be heard referring to the officer as an “Uncle Tom.” It doesn’t appear that the officer heard his comment.