WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Rashawn Mayes, 19, and Michael Boston Jr., 20, walked out of jail Thursday after community leaders started asking questions about their arrest stemming from a social media post encouraging people to riot.
Family members and local leaders are demanding answers, as race relations take the center stage in our country. Family and friends say the arrest was unjust, saying the men shared the post as a way to warn the community and didn’t create it. They shared photos of Mayes and Boston dressed in tuxedos for prom as examples of the men they want you to see.
“They are not criminals these are young men that have bright futures in their life,” said Sianna Poole, Aunt of Rashawn Mayes. She believes he was wrongfully arrested on suspicion of incitement to riot.
“He is a good extraordinary young man. He has done things for the community,” said Poole.
The two were released from jail while the investigation continues. Wichita police named the two men in a press release Thursday morning, saying the men “were responsible for the post that was shared thousands of times throughout Sedgwick County and surrounding areas, causing fear and panic to citizens and business owners.”
“Why would we want to come and destroy things where we live? We’re not about that. We’re not going to stand for that,” said Poole.
City council member Brandon Johnson says the post was shared widely and is questioning what led to the arrest.
“We’ve seen prominent people in Wichita share that. one even tagged our mayor and said what are you going to do about this,” said Johnson.
He wants to see proof that the two men were responsible for creating the post not just sharing it, to justify the arrests.
“That’s where everyone’s upset. Again if we can show proof that they created this account that it was their intent they did want to incite they did want do distract then I’m wrong. I am wrong if we can prove that,” said Johnson.
He questions why other online posts, or aggressive actions at riots, haven’t prompted similar arrests alleging incitement to riot.
“We’ve seen aggressive posts on social media to me those are inciting riots,” said Johnson.
Johnson spoke with Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay about his concerns.
“So, I started asking questions, and I said in this day and time in the middle of national unrest that if we don’t have 1,000 percent evidence to show that this is the case we cannot take these young black men and put them in jail,” said Johnson. “I believe that that message was heard. Chief Ramsay has always been understanding of that, that’s why it wasn’t a tough conversation to have. “
After Johnson’s discussion with Ramsay, Sedgwick County jail records confirm Boston and Mayes were released without prejudice and on their own recognizance. Released without prejudice means that the individual has been released from custody without charges filed, however, the case can still be opened and charges could potentially be filed in the future.
Sedgwick County Commissioner Lacey Cruse also raising questions about what led to the arrest. KSN reached out to the Wichita Police Department for response to the questions raised by family and local leaders. They told KSN the case is still under investigation.
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