Dream Defenders’ Phillip Agnew Arrested During Ferguson Solidarity Protest in Miami

Phillip Agnew with a young child
Phillip Agnew via Twitter
Phillip Agnew with a young child
Phillip Agnew via Twitter

For the last couple of years, Phillip Agnew has been the voice of a generation when it comes to his activism and social awareness. After Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman, Agnew became a powerful voice in Florida against the “Stand your ground” laws. From organizing protests, even sit-ins at the Florida Statehouse, Agnew and his organization, the Dream Defenders, are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to social activism. For his work, The Root honored Agnew as a member of The Root 100 for 2014.


Over the last several months, Agnew and the Dream Defenders have been organizing peaceful protests not only concerning Florida but also to stand in solidarity with Ferguson, Mo. Unfortunately, as Agnew and his colleague Jeremy Shaw were on the grounds in Miami Tuesday night as part of their #indictthesystem nationwide protests, both were arrested.

According to Sherika Shaw, the Dream Defenders’ South Florida regional coordinator, the arrests occurred at the Richard Gerstein Justice Building in Miami. Sherika Shaw stated that upon their arrival at the building to hold their protests, they noticed that the building, along with the streets, was taped off.  Apparently someone tipped off the building about the protests.


Sherika Shaw went on to state that Jeremy Shaw placed his foot on the barrier that was blocked off by police and was then tackled and cuffed. When Agnew questioned the police officer, he was also cuffed and arrested. 

Agnew and Jeremy Shaw were released on bond Wednesday. An online fundraiser to pay for their bond was started after their arrest. In a statement to Ebony, Ahmad Abuznaid, the Dream Defenders’ legal and policy director, said the anticipated charges are second-degree trespassing and nonviolent resisting arrest.

Despite the arrests, the Dream Defenders still continued to stand in solidarity with other protesters across the country. The hashtag #indictthesystem is filled with protest photos from across the United States and abroad. It’s safe to say that the organization doesn’t plan to back down anytime soon.