Ellas Anthony McDaniel, the son of legendary rhythm and blues artist Bo Diddley, was arrested Friday morning in a park named after his father while participating in the Gainesville, Florida offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street protests. The Independent Florida Alligator reports four protesters, including McDaniel, were arrested for trespassing in Bo Diddley Community Plaza while it was closed. “This is my father’s park. For them to arrest me in that plaza is ludicrous. … I’m an American. This is freedom of assembly,” McDaniel said. Your move, little Tommy Zuccotti.
The protesters has a permit to be in the park, but it did not allow them to be there after hours. At 11:30 p.m., the park’s closing time, police asked demonstrators to leave. The Alligator reports “officers gave the crowd of about 50 activists about half an hour to move to the sidewalks, where they could legally stay.” Some, including the son of the park’s namesake, stayed behind and stood by a stone that was inscribed with the Bill of Rights and “they said they were waiting to get arrested.”
“There’s a symbolic stone in front of me that says freedom of speech. I feel like a number of my rights have been violated,” McDaniel said.
Those who were arrested were given a notice and released. McDaniel said he would stand with the protesters on the sidewalk and come to fellow demonstrators’ aid if they got arrested. “I’ll be there,” he told the Alligator. “I’ll be there. I’ll bail them out. And I’m not caring how many there is.”