The woman behind the iconic Baton Rouge protest photograph, a photograph which some have claimed will forever depict July’s protests in America, has been named as Leshia Evans.
In the photo, Leshia, who works as a nurse in New York City, stands tall and peacefully as heavily armed police rush towards her to put her in handcuffs.
She was arrested in the seconds following this powerful photograph and spent 24 hours in jail because she had refused to move out of the way, reports the Daily Mail.
After her release from prison, Leshia claimed that she was acting as a ‘vessel’ for God’s work.
Posting onto Facebook she 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.
The photographer who took the iconic image, Jonathan Bachman, had been covering the protest for Reuters when he noticed Evans standing in the road.
Speaking to The Atlantic, he said that there was something striking about her calm composure despite being face to face with hundreds of armed police.
I could tell that she wasn’t going to move, and it seemed like she was making her stand.
To me it seemed like: “You’re going to have to come and get me.” And I just thought it seemed like this was a good place to get in position and make an image, just because she was there in her dress and you have two police officers in full riot gear.
It wasn’t very violent. She didn’t say anything. She didn’t resist, and the police didn’t drag her off. It’s representative of the peaceful demonstrations that have been going on down here.
A lifelong friend of Evans’, Natasha Haynes, said that Evans’ had travelled to Baton Rouge from New York to take part in demonstrations against the killings of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile just last week.
She added that she wanted to demonstrate for a better future for her son.
Alton Sterling was shot dead by police in Baton Rouge on July 5. Not too long after, Philandro Castile was shot dead when he reached into his pocket to retrieve his driving license after being pulled over for a broken tail light.
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.
Following the shocking events which scarred the United States last week, protests are currently being held, not only in the U.S, but across the globe.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.