VOL. 131 | NO. 139 | Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Black Lives Matter Protesters Arrested Outside Graceland
By Bill Dries
Three Black Lives Matter protesters were arrested outside Graceland Tuesday.
Six Black Lives Matter protesters were arrested Tuesday, July 12, as they blocked Elvis Presley Boulevard at the gates of Graceland.
The arrests were out of a group of 100 protesters led by Frank Gotti, who was among the organizers of the Sunday rally turned march to the Hernando DeSoto Bridge.
All six were given misdemeanor citations for blocking a roadway and then released.
Gotti was among organizers of the Sunday action who complained that a Monday meeting with Mayor Jim Strickland and Police Director Michael Rallings wasn’t what they agreed to to call off the Sunday protest that blocked all traffic on the bridge for several hours.
No one was arrested in the bridge protest.
“They took us for a joke,” Gotti said of the Monday meeting at Greater Imani Christian Church in Raleigh. “Y’all ain’t going to let us speak and let our voices be heard, we got a problem with that.”
Another one of the organizers, Keedran Franklin, who was among those arrested outside Graceland, sent an email in behalf of “The Concerned Citizens” to Rallings an hour before Monday’s protest, also complained that Rallings “made a mockery of our agreement.”
“You allowed those who had nothing to do with the agreement or the (Sunday) event that precipitated the agreement to control the meeting,” Franklin wrote. “You decided or allowed the decision to be made of who would speak. … You allowed politicians, who have proven to be ineffective and/or unwilling to make positive changes in the city, to be seated in positions above the citizens with whom you agreed to meet, giving the appearance of honoring those who have not demonstrated true concern for the citizens.”
After the arrests, a group of around 100 protesters remained outside the walls of Graceland waving signs and chanting slogans.
The group also walked back and forth at the Elvis Presley Boulevard crossing at the gates of Graceland single file using “baby steps” without stopping.
The protest ended around 2 p.m., about two hours after it began.