Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed is no stranger to law enforcement. A former gang member from one of the roughter neighborhoods of St. Louis, “l’il Niecey” has worked her way from the streets into Missouri politics. She has come into the public eye recently due to the protests in Ferguson and her vocal support of those demanding the indictment and conviction of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
Before the shooting death of Mike Brown, Senator Nasheed’s notoriety stemmed from her youthful gang affiliation and her bully tactics in the Missouri legislature. Since the shooting, she has made headlines several times – and last night was no exception.
Toward the end of yet another full day of protests outside the Ferguson Police Department, Senator Nasheed and an unnamed gentleman arrived on the scene. They walked into the street in front of the police station, defying both city ordinances that prohibit blocking streets and the repeated direction of police officers on the scene.
According to KMOV News in St. Louis, Nasheed – who is a staunch supporter of gun control measures - was arrested around 8:30pm when she chose to sit in the middle of the street rather than obey police instruction to clear the road. At the time, she was in possession of her own firearm, for which she has a valid concealed carry permit. The state senator also refused a breathalyzer at the time of her arrest.
Upon being released from jail this morning, Senator Nasheed made a statement to the gathered press. She made no comment regarding the weapon with which she had been detained.
It was a symbolic arrest - sending a message to the protesters that we can protest peacefully, that we must protest peacefully, and that we want justice for Michael Brown, but we don't want it in vain.
While Senator Nasheed’s lawyer, Jerryl Christmas, was quick to defend her.
She’s down with the struggle…she’s one with what is going on here…And if someone of her stature gets arrested, well, that ups the ante.
Protesters seem less impressed by what many of them – including protester Tony Rice - are calling “a stunt.”
She was the only one marching by herself and some dude she marched with. All of us protesting have been here all day. Then she shows up maybe 15 minutes ago, starting this crap. She was not over here protesting with us at all.
A 62 year old woman named Catherine Jackson has been in Ferguson protesting nightly, and said that until last night she was unaware of who Senator Nasheed even was. Her response to last night’s antics:
I guess she has constituents to impress.
Video uploaded to Tony Rice’s Twitter page, @search4swag, show the Senator smiling as the police take her into custody. If she knew how the majority of protesters viewed her actions, she might not be so amused.