‘This is the work of God. I am a vessel.’ NYC nurse behind powerful protest photo in Baton Rouge

It is the photo seen around the world: A young woman in a flowing dress standing with her arms crossed facing down a line of heavily armed police while two armored officers rush forward to put her in handcuffs.

Now Dailymail.com can exclusively reveal the woman to be Ieshia Evans, 28, a mother and licensed practical nurse from New York, who was attending her first protest when she was arrested.

Natasha Haynes said Evans, a lifelong friend, traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following the shooting of Alton Sterling because she ‘wanted a better future for her five-year-old son’.

Ieshia Evans, 28, was attending her first ever protest march in Baton Rouge yesterday when she was pictured in this iconic image being arrested by heavily armed police

Evans, who is the mother of a five-year-old son, had become ‘overwhelmed with emotion’ while watching the demonstrations and so had decided to travel from her home in New York to take part, a friend told Dailymail.com

Haynes said: ‘She’s a vision with a beautiful heart and peaceful stance in life. I’ve known her for 20 years. She was the maid of honor at my wedding. I’m a god-mother to her son.

‘She’s everything to me and I’m just happy she’s safe, not hurt and – most importantly – happy that she got up and did something about injustices here in the States.’

Haynes explained that Evans was ‘overcome with emotion’ while watching the demonstrations on TV and decided to take action.

Mom & Son, Baton Rouge Protest 1    Mom & Son, Baton Rouge Protest 2

She left her son with his father in New York and traveled to the protest site where she was taking part in the main demonstration shortly before she was arrested.

Haynes said that the fateful moment she was arrested came when officers attempted to push the crowd back from the Baton Rouge Police Department, despite the protest being peaceful until that point.

Evans told her: ‘I went into the street with my arms crossed and just stared at them. I guess they didn’t like it because they detained me.’

Evans did not agree with the police actions and  folded her arms and fixed officers with a stare, at which point they ran forward and handcuffed her before taking her into custody

While Evans said that the arrest was a little rough, as was processing, while in jail a kind officer made sure all of the demonstrators were treated well, she explained.

Police records show she was held overnight before being booked and released on Sunday, and she is now in her hotel room in Louisiana recovering from her ordeal.

Evans said: ‘I just need you people to know. I appreciate the well wishes and love, but this is the work of God. I am a vessel! Glory to the most high! I’m glad I’m alive and safe. And that there were no casualties that I have witnessed first hand.’

Evans was one of more than 100 people to be arrested in Baton Rouge on Saturday, including prominent Black Lives Matter member DeRay McKesson who was walking along the side of a highway when he was ordered to get on his knees and handcuffed.

Police said that two of their officers were injured, including one who lost several teeth after being struck with ‘a projectile’.

While demonstrations were largely peaceful during the day, at night scuffles broke out between activists and officers, with police saying objects were thrown at them, while protesters accused cops of charging at crowds

Protests have been taking place for six days in Baton Rouge after 37-year-old Alton Sterling was shot dead by officers on Tuesday 

Louisiana State Police spokesman Major Doug Cain said that in total 102 people were arrested on Saturday, with most of those being charged with ‘obstruction of a highway’, believed to be the charge that Evans is facing.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said he was proud of how the police had handled the protests so far, saying law enforcement had responded in a ‘moderate’ manner. He also said the vast majority of protesters had acted lawfully and nonviolently.

Edwards said, however: ‘It is not … appropriate to allow them to simply block a major thoroughfare like Airline Highway.’

Protesters from Louisiana or out of state will not be allowed ‘to incite hate and violence, to engage in unlawful activities,’ Edwards told a news conference. ‘Now I want to be very clear. That will not be tolerated.’

Baton Rouge police confiscated three rifles, three shotguns and two pistols at Saturday night’s protest and were wearing helmets, shields and body armor.

Police said those arrested ignored repeated orders to stay out of the street, while demonstrators said officers charged into the crowds seemingly without any obvious provocation.

‘The only people who were violent last night were the Baton Rouge Police department,’ Mckesson told reporters after his release. ‘The protesters remained peaceful, both here and across the country.’

Source: The DailyMail

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