Protest leader pleads 'not guilty' to obstructing traffic

Protest leader pleads 'not guilty' to obstructing traffic

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Horn Lake, Mississippi businessman pleaded not guilty Tuesday to obstruction of traffic for a protest he led in December 2014.

Tedarrel Muhammad led more than 80 people on a half-mile march to protest the police shootings of black men in New York City and Ferguson, Missouri. He admits that during the protest, marchers ended up in the streets as a tribute to those who had been killed. But Muhammad said when police asked them to move out of the street, they did.

"When they came and told us to get out of the streets, within one minute, we got out of the streets and I was the one leading everybody to get out of the streets, so I don't understand," he said.

Muhammad described the march as peaceful but he says five days later, he was arrested at his business, in front of his kids, customers, and employees.

"I was the only one arrested out of 65 to 80 people," he said.

Muhammad showed up at court on Tuesday with over a dozen supporters, who were wearing t-shirts showing solidarity. He told reporters that he is looking forward to his day in court.

"Felt offended. I felt my rights had been violated," he said. "Right to a peaceful protest, freedom of speech."

He plans to ask the people who marched with him to testify in his defense.

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