Charleston Black Lives Matter activist arrested for snatching Confederate flag gets bond

Source: AP
Source: AP

A South Carolina judge on Thursday set bond for Muhiyidin Elamin Moye, the Charleston Black Lives Matter activist arrested Wednesday for attempting to snatch a Confederate battle flag during a protest outside of a social justice event at the College of Charleston.

The judge set a personal recognizance bond of $2,382, which Moye would be required to pay if he doesn't show up for a court date, the Charleston Post and Courier reported. Erica Veal, a volunteer with BLM Charleston, told Mic in a phone interview that Moye would likely be released early Thursday evening.

Moye, who has used the last name d'Baha, was charged with disorderly conduct and malicious injury to real property, according to the Post and Courier.

In a phone interview after his release Thursday, Moye said his actions at the protest were in line with deliberate efforts by BLM supporters in Charleston to confront white supremacy and racism. That includes displays of the Confederate battle flag, which is seen by many as a symbol of slavery, segregation and xenophobia.

"We're fighting battles against real white supremacists and real racists out here," Moye said in the phone interview.

Editor's note: The following video contains graphic language.

Source: YouTube

A now-viral video clip shows Moye, 31, leaping over a police barricade to grab a flag from a member of the South Carolina Secessionist Party. The group, which describes itself as a Confederacy heritage defense and political activism organization, opposed the lowering of the Confederate battle flag following the murders of nine black churchgoers by convicted killer Dylann Roof at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015.

SCSP members were protesting near the College of Charleston event, titled "Tearing hatred from the sky," where activist Bree Newsome was speaking. Newsome was arrested in June 2015 after she climbed a flagpole to remove the Confederate battle flag that flew over a monument at the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina.

Moye said the protesters that gathered outside of the Newsome event Wednesday night appeared to have frighten members of the community. That's why he acted, Moye said in the phone interview.

"There were a couple of elders in our community, standing to my left, and I looked at them and saw a fear and a shock," he said. "I just didn't want them to feel that. I don't know what [seeing the flags] brought back for them, but it was real for me."

Moye's legal defense was provided by the Charleston chapter of Standing Up for Racial Justice, which raised the money through a bail fund, Veal said. The group has previously bailed Moye out for a disorderly conduct charge related to a demonstration at a North Charleston City Council meeting.

Muhiyidin Elamin Moye
Source: 
Chuck Burton/AP

In court, Moye's attorney, Cameron Blazer, said he has "a long history of peaceable activism and protest" and is a low flight risk, the Post and Courier reported.

Although BLM Charleston is not an official chapter of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, according to its spokeswoman, Moye and other BLM supporters were active during community responses to the Emanuel AME shooting and the North Charleston police shooting death of Walter Scott in April 2015.

In the phone interview, Moye said he hoped his action at the Wednesday's protest inspired people across the nation to stand up to nationalist rhetoric and racist displays when and wherever they see them.

"If you see white supremacists thinking that their actions are going to have the same impact of intimidation and fear, then there needs to be pushback," he said. "People can't come and wave [Confederate]  flags in front of our faces anymore. That's not how it's going to go down."

Feb. 23, 2017, 6:14 p.m. Eastern: This story has been updated.

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Aaron Morrison

Aaron is a Senior Staff Writer for The Movement at Mic. He covers the intersection of race, justice, politics, diversity and civil rights. He has previously written for IB TImes, Miami Herald, The Bergen Record of New Jersey and the Associated Press. Send tips to aaron@mic.com.

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