“I’m not gonna hit anybody, I’m not gonna shoot anybody, I’m gonna speak to you, I’m gonna use my words,” she said.
Those were the last words one Black Lives Matter protester in Rochester, New York, before being arrested on camera during an interview with TWC News.
“Oh my God, oh my God,” she said as officer swarmed around her.
Sapphire Williams, 22, was arrested at a protest wasn’t planning to attend, but joined when she and her friends stumbled upon it while they were out. Not long after she started talking to the camera, officers dressed in riot gear rush up to her and arrest her.
It all started when she began speaking to fellow demonstrators, the police and, eventually, the news media about “what got us to this point,” Williams, who recently graduated from Albany University, said. Moments later, she was detained by police.
“I was completely taken aback by the onrush of officers and this very SWAT-like gear coming towards me out of nowhere,” Williams told CNN of the arrest. “I was extremely alarmed. I had no idea what they were going to do to me, if they were about to tackle me to the ground.”
Williams spent the night in jail with other protesters and was kept in police custody until 7 a.m. the next day. She described the whole experience as “very traumatizing” and “almost humiliating.” All of her jewelry and her shoes were confiscated, her mugshot was taken and metal detectors were pressed on either side of her face.
“We were coming to grips with the severity of issues at hand, understanding we’re all affected — it’s not just the black community,” she said of her time in jail. “It was a sobering experience.”
In the end, though, Williams said the whole ordeal made her feel “100 times more empowered.”
“Instances like mine caught on camera make people become aware and more empathetic to issues black Americans face,” she said, “and generally people of color and with a socioeconomic status who don’t have a voice.”
According to the Rochester City Court, Williams was charged with disorderly conduct and her arraignment is set for July 26.
–Follow the author of this story on Twitter: