The Rev. Rebecca Ragland was one five protesters arrested for blocking a street outside the police headquarters in Ferguson, Missouri, yesterday.
The handful of protesters were faced down by a line of officers in full riot gear as impatience grows in the city waiting for a Grand Jury decision on whether to indict Darren Wilson for shooting unarmed teenager Michael Brown, 18.
According to Reverend Ragland the group – only numbering around 15 – blocking the road were dispersing when the St Louis County officers moved in.
She said, ‘I think everybody was completely shocked. We were dispersing at that point. Then they came down so I turned around and I thought, ‘Well I’m a de-escalator so I need to stay at the front.’
Ragland is Interim Rector at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion in University City, Missouri and…
…is one of many local clergy who have taken to the streets in an attempt to defuse the volatile relationship between protesters and police that saw the Missouri town erupt in violence following the shooting on August 9.
She was wearing a bright orange vest with the word ‘Clergy’ clearly printed across her back. Today she believes that far from protecting her this made her a target for officers keen to make a point ahead of the violence anticipated when the Grand Jury makes its announcement.
Last night’s arrest has been read as a clear message that law enforcement will come down hard on any and all protesters.