A spent bullet fragment was found a few blocks from Muhiydin Moye's body, police say
Moye's arrest went viral after he tried to snatch a Confederate flag from a protester
A Black Lives Matter activist who rose to prominence after the South Carolina State House Confederate flag controversy was killed in New Orleans while riding his bike late at night, police said.
An officer – responding to a call of shots fired, which was upgraded to a call of aggravated battery by shooting – arrived about 1:24 a.m. Tuesday in the city’s Gravier neighborhood and found Muhiydin Moye on the ground bleeding, about two blocks from University Medical Center, according to an incident report.
Moye, whose February 2017 arrest video went viral after he tried to snatch a Confederate flag from a protester in downtown Charleston, was later pronounced dead at that hospital, police and his family said.
His body was found on a largely residential street, in front of an auto repair shop. His mountain bike, its right side “covered in blood,” was found across the street, the report said.
The officer found a circuitous blood trail that led from Moye’s body to a spent bullet fragment in a grassy area four or five blocks away, the report said, adding that there are cameras near the location of Moye’s body and near the bullet fragment’s location.
The incident report doesn’t say whether the cameras captured anything useful to investigators, but they did collect the bullet, a hat and DNA evidence at the scene.
Though the police report doesn’t mention Moye dying, his family wrote on a verified GoFundMe account that he died from blood loss, and a New Orleans Police Department spokesman confirmed his death.
“An adult black male, identified as Mr. Muhiydin Moye, sustained a gunshot wound to the thigh in a shooting incident that occurred shortly before 1:30 am on February 6th. He was transported to a hospital and subsequently died of his wounds,” NOPD spokesman Beau Tidwell said in an email.
An attorney for the police department said that the incident report citing aggravated battery was the only one available, and that “the signal was recently changed to a homicide.”
The suspect is an unknown stranger, according to the incident report.
Calling him “Moya,” Camille Weaver, Moye’s cousin, said on the GoFundMe page that the family received a call Tuesday morning “saying that he had died due to excessive blood loss. We don’t have many details, but will update as soon as we do.”
Moye also used the last name d’Baha, according to his family.
Weaver did not immediately return a CNN email, but GoFundMe confirmed the legitimacy of the account seeking funds to transport Moye’s body back to Charleston, where a funeral is planned. As of Wednesday afternoon, the fundraiser had garnered triple its goal of $7,500.
On February 22, 2017, Bree Newsome – the woman arrested for scaling a 30-foot flagpole and removing a Confederate flag at the South Carolina statehouse in 2015 – was addressing a crowd that included members of Black Lives Matter as well as protesters from the state’s Secessionist Party.
As CNN affiliate WCSC broadcast live from in front of the theater where Newsome spoke, Moye darted behind the station’s correspondent, hurtled through yellow police tape and grabbed the flagpole of a protester holding aloft the Confederate flag.
The protester held strong and Moye took off, only to be tackled a few feet away by several police officers. He was charged with disorderly conduct, according to WCSC.
Moye later told The Washington Post his motive was to “help (the people protesting Newsome’s speech) understand what it is to meet a real resistance, to meet people that aren’t scared.”
According to CNN affiliate WCIV, the Black Lives Matter Charleston activist was known for organizing civil rights rallies, and for demanding transparency and public oversight of law enforcement after North Charleston police Officer Michael Slager was caught on camera fatally shooting Walter Scott in the back as he fled.
Before the damning video of Slager opening fire became public, Feidin Santana actually sent a screenshot of the footage to Moye and BLM Charleston, who connected Santana with Scott’s family, Moye told CNN during a 2016 interview.
“So we had the truth before police had the truth,” Moye said. “When it was time for us to organize and step up to the plate for our protest we didn’t have the kind of indecision and we didn’t have the kind of confusion that I think other places have had to deal with. ‘We need the video; we want to see what happened.’ That wasn’t our demand. Our demand was going right to remedy.”
Many of Moye’s fellow activists took to social media to mourn the 32-year-old.
“Go well, knowing that the work you’ve done speaks for you,” Charleston activist Leah Suarez posted on Instagram. “Rest in power, knowing that what you sought, you already were, and will continue to be.”
Deray Mckesson, a staunch supporter of the BLM movement, wrote on Twitter that Moye’s death was “quite a loss.”
“He was such a force and an incredible guy,” Mckesson tweeted.
CNN’s Darran Simon and Tina Burnside contributed to this report.