A Black Lives Matter organizer in Florida is facing felony charges for allegedly stealing flags from a car during a Pro-Trump caravan.
According to Insider, Jonathan Gartrelle was attending a protest last Saturday in Miami when a “Cubans for Trump,” caravan passed through. An officer claims to have seen Gartrelle “removing flags fixed to passing vehicles, damaging them and discarding them in the roadway.” The officer also alleges that Gartelle was in the street, preventing traffic from passing through.
An officer attempted to arrest Gartrelle but he managed to escape and successfully hide among the protesters by removing articles of clothing. Gartrelle has been charged with strong-arm robbery and escape, both felonies, as well as resisting an officer, obstructing a public street, and criminal mischief.
A witness, who was in the passenger seat of a white car during the caravan, identified Gartrelle to the police. They alleged that he had ripped a flag from their hand while they waved it out the passenger window. Gartrelle downplayed the allegations, telling the Miami Herald that he took a couple Trump flags from some parked cars and threw them to the ground but did not steal them.
“Their goal is to have me in jail for two weeks, get beaten up by some officers, and distract from the movement,” Gartrelle told the Herald.
During the protest, Gartrelle says that he was struck by one of the cars participating in the caravan. According to police, after disclosing what had happened, Gartrelle initially declined to press charges. However, the following day, Gartrelle posted a flyer on Facebook organizing a rally at the Miami Police Department in an effort to launch an investigation into the driver who struck him. A petition has been launched as well, which says Gartrelle began snatching the flags as a result of being upset over the alleged hit-and-run.
Gartrelle was arrested on Monday after police officers identified him through videos on his Instagram page. He was released on bond on Tuesday.