A Black Lives Matter activist who was known for leaping through police tape to seize a Confederate battle flag from a protester has been shot dead in New Orleans.
A police officer found Muhiyidin Elamin Moye on the ground bleeding and asking for help after responding to a call about gunfire in the early hours of Tuesday morning, according to a police report.
The report said the 32-year-old was found on a predominantly residential street in front of a car repair shop in the city’s Gravier neighbourhood. It noted there was a bloody trail to the body which circled two blocks and a bloody bicycle lay across the street.
It is not immediately clear what prompted the shooting of the campaigner who was also known as Muhiyidin d’Baha.
Mr Moye was shot in the thigh at around 1.30am and later pronounced dead in hospital.
The campaigner was filmed jumping through police tape in Charleston, South Carolina, as he tried to wrestle a Confederate battle flag out of the hands of a protester before being tackled by police and arrested last February.
After the footage went viral, he spoke out about being compelled to act after becoming aware of black community “elders” reacting to the Confederate flag.
“And I looked at our elders and I saw, like, fear in their eyes. We’re not going to pass this on another generation. Not another generation of people are going to be intimidated by this flag,” he told the Washington Post.
Mr Moye’s niece Camille Weaver has said that her uncle was taking a personal trip to New Orleans.
She told the Post and Courier of Charleston he was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and grew up in Hollywood, South Carolina, which is just west of Charleston.
She said: “He loved Charleston and loved fighting for what’s right. I’ve never met anyone more committed and hardworking than him. He was an asset to the Charleston community and will be greatly missed.”
Ms Weaver has created a GoFundMe page to raise money for his memorial service and get the activist’s body home to Charleston.
“On 2/5/18 around 1:00am, Moya was shot. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition. around 9-9:30am we received a phone call saying that he had died due to excessive blood loss. We don’t have many details, but will update as soon as we do,” she said on the page.
Friends, family and other local civil rights activists gathered outside of North Charleston City Hall to pay their respects to Mr Moye at a prayer vigil on Tuesday night. People chanted “Black Lives Matter” and shared memories of the activist.
“The intellectualism, the fire, the desire, the motivation, the way he rallied people in the city was just second to none,” Johnathan Thrower, a fellow activist, said.
He first rose to prominence for making impassioned speeches in Charleston in the days after Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, was shot dead by a white North Charleston police officer as he ran away from a traffic stop.
Black Lives Matter is an international activist movement that campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people. In the US it fights to counter racial inequality in the the criminal justice system and the fact black people’s lives are relatively undervalued as they are more likely to be the victims of police brutality.