MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Scott Prather is a free man after spending at least eight hours behind bars. He was arrested during a protest that in a mere moment took a turn.
"I was a part of the group that committed to standing our ground nonviolently and put our bodies between police and them," Prather told WREG.
Prather was one of seven arrested during Saturday's Take 'Em Down 901 rally centered around demanding the immediate removal of the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue.
"I was just around the statue, I wasn't on it with my hands up, and I became tangled in the banner as a lot of people did."
He says once protesters tried to wrap a banner around the monument, police moved in full force and he was stuck in the mix.
"I was telling the officers they were choking me, they left burns on my neck and shoulder."
Prather shared a Facebook Live with WREG, showing us just how chaotic things got.
"Once they got me free, they kinda shoved me down the steps and threw me on the ground and arrested me," he said. "Our movement family surrounded the car we were placed in and were committed to not letting them leave."
But officers reversed anyway, and as police moved the seven arrested protesters from UTHSC to police headquarters at 201 Poplar, protesters marched and camped outside the jail in solidarity "to show whether we are at the park making our voices heard or we are at the jailhouse, that we stand together," Prather said.
Mayor Jim Strickland got wind of the accusations that he isn't doing enough to remove the statues and fired back on social media saying he's working to find a lawful method to remove the statues.
Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings also issued a statement following the protest arrests:
"The leadership of the Memphis Police Department respects and welcomes the expression of the First Amendment Rights to all citizens in a law abiding manner. During a demonstration or protest, MPD's lawful obligation is to provide PUBLIC SAFETY for every citizen. MPD will not allow disruptions in business, school, government and every day function of life and liberty by unruly protesters or an unlawful protest.
The Memphis Police Department will continue to address these situations as they arise. If illegal actions are taken, those illegal actions will be dealt with accordingly. Safety and peace are our priority."