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Lawyer Says Activist Arrested On Live TV In Baltimore Is OK, Healthy

Last night on live television a well-known activist was arrested by authorities in Baltimore when he stayed on the streets past the 10 p.m. curfew.

It was a highly orchestrated arrest. A tactical vehicle moved in front of the cameras, just as police made a move:

Joseph Kent, 21, became a national figure during the protests in Ferguson, Mo.

Overnight, people on Twitter wondered where Joseph Kent was taken, with the hashtag #JosephKent trending.

Talib Kweli Green, a musician, tweeted:

Mashable reports that "others accused the police of conducting a 'blackbag kidnapping' snatched away 'the same way Colombian drug lords do.' Some on Twitter encouraged their followers to call a phone number for central booking in Baltimore, demanding the police free the young activist."

This afternoon, attorney Steve Beatty went to central booking and found Kent. The Baltimore City Paper reports:

"Beatty met with Kent, and reported, 'He has very minor abrasions on the backs of his hands [from] when they jostled him around with the equipment, the Plexiglas shields, rough take-down.' Kent is in 'very good spirits, very positive, looking forward to getting out. He was amused when I explained that he had created a national frenzy. When I explained that everyone was showing such concern for him being snatched up on national television like that, he wanted me to get the message out that he was OK. The way he put it is that he didn't want anyone chanting his name.' "

Later in the afternoon, the Baltimore Office of the Public Defender announced that 101 people who were arrested during Monday's riots were released without any charges. Police arrested more than 200 that night.

Kent, Beatty said, was not one of those released.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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