Last night, activist Joseph Kent was arrested on live television while engaging in civil disobedience by violating Baltimore’s current 10pm curfew. You can see in the above vid that he was likely pinned against the passing Humvee by police and then rushed off. It’s hard to tell if anything else might have happened because the camera that was tracking the Humvee just kept tracking it. But that hasn’t stopped the proliferation of a number of conspiracy theorists on Twitter and in the media from claiming Kent was “kidnapped” and put inside the Humvee, somehow without anyone being able to see that and without any of the doors of the Humvee ever opening.
First off, Kent is an experienced activist, not some rookie. I’m sure he absolutely knew he ran the risk of being arrested by breaking curfew but in conducting an effective protest civil disobedience is necessary. Most activists expect to get arrested at some point. But moving on, here’s the conspiracy theories that are still flooding the web.
Jet Magazine is reporting it’s “clear” he was put in the Humvee.
And here’s where Twitter went.
Some even implied that CNN, which shot the footage, was in on the whole kidnapping thing.
Beyond that, some claimed he wasn’t read his Miranda rights, although how they could possibly know just by watching TV remains a mystery.
Others claimed Kent was missing.
Because real newspapers had gotten in on the action, repeating the RUMINT they’d heard and seen on Twitter.
But we know where he is. He was arrested, processed, and then released this morning, likely before 8am.
But that hasn’t stopped some sites from running the same story implying that Joseph Kent was kidnapped “black bag” style even though it’s now clear he absolutely wasn’t.
I understand why people might get worked up about this. Kent is a known figure in the activist community. However, I can’t imagine that the police who arrested him had any way of knowing that. To them he was likely just somehow who’d violated curfew and gotten close enough to grab. What’s more, you can clearly see that he wasn’t put in the Humvee as it passes.
This kind of conspiracy theorizing is a clickbaity distraction. Authorities in Baltimore didn’t need to hide that they were arresting Kent, they were within their legal rights to do so, and if the Humvee hadn’t driven by and obscured the view he’d have been arrested right in front of everyone. People would have questioned the wisdom of arresting him, and rightly so, but there’d be none of this Illuminati stink.