Cornel West Arrested Alongside Christian Clergy Members in Ferguson, Missouri During Peaceful Protests

Activist Cornel West (2nd R) is detained by police during a protest at the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Missouri, October 13, 2014.
Activist Cornel West (2nd R) is detained by police during a protest at the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Missouri, October 13, 2014. | (Photo: Reuters/Jim Young)

Approximately 50 people, including several members of clergy, were arrested in Ferguson, Missouri as part of a "weekend of resistance" against police brutality in the town.

One of those arrested was activist, author, and professor Cornel West, who teaches Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. West is known for his activism and was proud to be arrested in Ferguson.

"It's a beautiful thing to see people on fire for justice, but I didn't come here to give a speech; I came here to go to jail," West said at a rally on Saturday night. "The larger system has been victimizing and coming at them [black youth]. Thank God the awakening is setting in, and any time the awakening sets in it gets a little messy."

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"We're here because we love the young folks," he later said outside the Ferguson Police Department.

The school where West teaches stands firmly behind him and calls him, and another student arrested, "part of the heartbeat of Union."

"Dr. Cornel West has a longstanding history of expressing his conscience through acts of uncivil disobedience—obedience to a higher Christian call to pursue justice and love. Our young people need more role models like Dr. West, which is why I'm so proud of our Union students who are in Ferguson standing alongside Dr. West, and all of our Union students, alumni, faculty and friends who do the work of justice in all its many forms," Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary, said in a statement.

According to several reports, members of the clergy approached the police and offered to hear their confessions of guilt for the death of Michael Brown and acts of violence against the public. However, none of the police responded to the offerings and then two people were arrested.

"Though the mood was tense, the arrests were relatively calm as clergy members and others said they wished to meet with Ferguson police officers inside the building, then stepped forward after saying they were prepared to be arrested if they could not," the New York Times reported.

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