Chris LeDay, the man responsible for helping the video of Alton Sterling’s death go viral was arrested less than a day after spreading the video online. Police handcuffed and leg-shackled him, then jailed him overnight claiming unpaid traffic fines.
After learning of the video through friends in his hometown of Baton Rouge, where the shooting took place, LeDay uploaded the video to his thousands of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter followers, prompting it to then go viral and be shared by thousands.
The day after sharing the video LeDay showed up for work at his job as an aerospace ground equipment technician at Dobbins Air Reserve Base and found himself surrounded by ten armed military police officers.
Although arresting officers said that his charges were for assault and battery, LeDay was told at the county jail that he had unpaid traffic tickets from years prior that had caused his license to be suspended. LeDay spent 26 hours in jail and was only released after paying over $1200 in traffic fines. He says that the traffic tickets were legitimate and that he did not have the money at the time they were issued to pay them, but no longer drives: “I take Uber to work anyway,” LeDay said. “Even one of the cops on the base said he sees me getting dropped off for work.”
LeDay was initially worried about being publicly arrested at his place of work. Real charges of assault and battery could have been grounds for immediate dismissal, and a public arrest like that could have gotten him fired regardless. Luckily, when LeDay explained to his boss that it was simply for speeding tickets the whole situation was laughed off.
If he was targeted for his role in the viral release of the Alton Sterling shooting, he wouldn’t be the first to face retaliation for releasing videos of police brutality. Ramsey Orta, the videographer who filmed the killing of Eric Garner, is currently facing up to four years in prison for various unrelated crimes.