Philadelphia’s Mayor Calls Arrests Of Black LGBTQ Leaders “Very Concerning”

Gilbert Carrasquillo/ Getty Images

The arrest of two of Philadelphia’s LGBTQ leaders during a traffic stop has sparked concern and scrutiny, particularly after a video of the incident circulated on social media. Celena Morrison, who leads the city’s Office of LGBT Affairs, and her husband, Darius McLean, were both detained by a Pennsylvania state trooper during the encounter.

The couple were driving separately in order to take a car for repair when Morrison’s vehicle was stopped by police

According to The Associated Press, McLean can be heard expressing distress and alleging that the arrest is racially motivated in the video, while Morrison identifies herself as a city official. The trooper is seen moving to arrest Morrison after handcuffing McLean, “as he lay in the rain on the shoulder of an elevated highway.”

Morrison and McLean were arrested on obstruction and resisting arrest charges after the traffic stop on March 2. However, District Attorney Larry Krasner did not immediately file the charges.

“A video circulating on social media that depicts a portion of the incident is very concerning to me,” Mayor Cherelle Parker said in a statement, adding that she would wait until the investigation concluded before saying more.

The incident has raised questions about potential racial bias and police conduct. Both Morrison and McLean are Black, and the trooper appears to be white. District Attorney Larry Krasner has refrained from immediately filing charges against the couple, opting to investigate further.

The cellphone video posted online says the trooper stopped Morrison for tailgating and not having lights on. McLean, chief operating officer of the William Way LGBT Community Center, apparently pulled over in a second vehicle and was arrested after allegedly arguing with the officer.

The William Way Center’s executive director, Chris Bartlett, called the traffic stop “unjust” on its social media site and said it “was working with officials to remedy this terrible situation.”

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