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Report: Man arrested at Black Lives Matter protest is simply a misunderstood fire breather

5:08 AM EDT on July 13, 2016

Brandon Donny Lara

Outside of a peaceful, productive demonstration, the biggest news to come out of Sunday's Black Lives Matter protest in Bricktown was the arrest of Brandon Lara.

According to police, the guy with the "All Cops Are Bastards" tattoo etched into the side of his head was acting all suspicious at the protest by "wearing a bandana across his face, sunglasses and a ball cap." He also had "a backpack slung diagonally across his chest," which according to Paco Balderrama, is typically how police carry backpacks when they're armed. Because we live in sad, dangerous times where it only takes one crazy guy with a gun to turn a positive event into a jarring national symbol of tragedy, an undercover police officer stopped Lara to search him and ask some questions.

According to The Oklahoman, Lara "initially told police he did not want to be searched, demanded to be released and called his detainment illegal" and "made comments consistent with the Sovereign Citizen movement agenda and propaganda." Eventually, Lara relented and the police searched his bag. Inside they found eight commercial grade "smoke bombs." As a result, Lara was arrested on a litany of complaints, including performing a terrorist hoax, possession of explosives, outraging public decency, wearing a mask in the commission of a crime, and looking like he should be the bassist in Korn.

Well, at least that's the narrative the police and their pals in the mainstream media are telling us. Now we're finally hearing Lara's side to the story. According to this totally unbiased, 100% objective article by Sarah Boone, the Gayly's "journalism intern," Lara is nothing but a misunderstood activist who dabbles in fire-breathing.

Via The Gayly:

On July 10, 2016, 24-year-old Brandon “Donny” Lara was arrested while protesting in the Black Lives Matter movement held in downtown Oklahoma City, OK. Lara was alongside the protesters and his associates say he has always been an advocate for the oppressed. Lara is white and Hispanic with dread locks and tattoos, including tattoos on his face. Lara was wearing sunglasses and a hat, like many of the other protestors, and had a bandana over his face.

When asked why Lara was arrested, Captain Paco Ballderama, who is overseeing the investigation, claimed, “He stood out to police officers as being somebody who looked very suspicious, was dressed very suspiciously, and might be a threat.” However, Lara was the only arrest out of the day, though people were sporting masks and bandanas on their faces.

Listen, I strongly support civil liberties. I think something needs to be done regarding the militarization of police and how they disproportionately target and prey upon minorities. I know profiling is wrong, but in this instance, I really don't have a problem with police stopping the guy. It's not like he was walking down the street, watching a movie, or shopping at Walmart and being unfairly harassed by or targeted by police. He was at a Black Lives Matter protest that took place 200 miles and 96 hours after the Dallas tragedy. He should have known that everyone was going to be wary, cautious and on high alert of any remotely suspicious behavior.

Also, the police did find eight smoke bombs in his backpack. How does he explain that??

Via The Gayly:

Witness Grayson Hightower told The Gayly, “We [Hightower and Lara] were walking towards the front because we wanted to get closer to the speaker. An undercover cop said something to Donny about ‘you gotta come this way.’ Donny asked why and the cop said ‘suspicious behavior,’ so Donny complied.

“The cop said to take his bandana off so he did and walked with the cop. They asked for his ID and so Donny gave him that. Then he [the police officer] opened his [Donny’s] bag. They [the police] called more people in and then told him he was under arrest for not complying with law enforcement even though he did everything they asked.

“And then, they thoroughly searched his bag and found smoke bombs from the Fourth of July because they [Lara and friend] had a fire breathing show [which they, reportedly, frequently perform].”

Lara had 8 smoke bombs in his backpack from, what witnesses claim, were for Lara and his friend fire-breathing acts, which he had not removed. Witnesses also claim that after being placed in the police car, Lara had fainted due to, what they believe was, heat exhaustion. The ambulance later arrived and transported Lara to the hospital.

That's good to know. According to the Journalism Intern with the Gayly, the guy with the massive All Cops Are Bastards tattoo on the side of his head who was marching around a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Bricktown with smoke bombs in backpack and a bandana covering his face just four days after a similar protest in Dallas where five cops were mercilessly gunned down by a sniper is just a misunderstood, harmless, peaceful guy who enjoys fire-breathing. Well why didn't he just say so! Nothing else to see here. Carry on. Move along with your day.

Actually, that's kind of difficult to do if your name is Brandon “Donny” Lara. He's still behind bars facing $50,000 in bail. As a result, his friends, supporters, comrades, and even the Gayly's own "journalism intern" who wrote the story above – they may want to talk to her about journalism ethics – set up a Go Fund Me. It was taken down because it was tied to terrorism. They also created a "Free Brandon Lara" Facebook page. I'd encourage you to check it out. Their accounts do paint a much different image of Brandon than his mug shot and media reports.

In the meantime, I'm going to let more facts come out before making any further conclusions. I'm like Switzerland in all this - Neutral. I'm distrustful of law enforcement, but then again, I'm also distrustful of dudes who attend peaceful yet extremely delicate protests carrying smoke bombs and dressing up like they're in a Rage Against The Machine music video. I guess I'll just have to trust our criminal justice system to investigate the matter fully, make a conclusion about his intent, and then do what's right. Scary thought, huh?

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