One of the five protesters arrested in the Loop in the hours after the release of the Laquan McDonald video is an aspiring poet who has garnered national attention and was one of the organizers of the march.
Malcolm London, 22, of the 4900 block of West Huron in the Austin neighborhood, was charged with aggravated battery to a police officer, a felony, after he allegedly struck a cop, according to the Police Department.
He faces the most serious charge of those arrested during the demonstration, which lasted for hours and briefly stopped traffic on the Eisenhower Expressway.
London is accused of striking an officer in the 100 block of East Balbo Drive as police blocked protesters from marching across the bridge. He is scheduled to appear in bond court later Wednesday.
Supporters have created a Free Malcolm London hashtag and have urged people to call police to demand that he be released.
“He was just standing there and the police snatched him up,” tweeted the Black Youth Project 100, which organized Tuesday night’s march. London is listed as a co-chair of the organization’s Chicago chapter.
London is a member of the Young Adult Council of the Steppenwolf Theater and appeared on PBS for a TED Talk with John Legend and Bill Gates. In 2011, he won the Louder Than A Bomb youth poetry slam in his Chicago, according to a biography on his website.
In 2012, just graduated from Lincoln Park High School, London talked to the Tribune about growing up in Austin and how it affected his work.
“There are a lot of kids like me in places like this, places kind of pushed into the shadows by the people who run this city,” he said. “We have stories to tell, stories not told in the news and media. I am getting the chance to tell mine, and others can too.”
In September of that year, he made his national television debut in “Verses & Flow,” a series that features musical and poetry performances.
The others arrested during the protest are:
• Dan M. Vanriper, 38, of the 35900 block of Wilcox in Murrieta, Calif., charged with one felony count of possession of a controlled substance, one misdemeanor count of unlawful use of weapon (a Taser), one misdemeanor count of possession of a deadly weapon (a knife).
• Johnae A. Strong, 25, of the 1400 block of East 55th Street in Chicago, charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting police officer.
• May Page, 26, of the 5300 block of South Harper Avenue in Chicago, charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting police officer.
• Troy T. Alim, 24, of the 4600 block of South Drexel Boulevard in Chicago, charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting police officer.
— Phil Shaw (@PhilShaw) November 25, 2015