Leading a made-for-TV demonstration that evoked the style of the civil rights movement, Jesse L. Jackson was arrested today as he stepped onto the grounds of a high school to protest the expulsion of six students for a brawl at a football game.
Jackson was taken away in handcuffs after leading a throng of ministers and other protesters to Eisenhower High. He had promised to force his own arrest to dramatize the students' cause.
Three other demonstrators were arrested, police said. The Rev. James Meeks, a Decatur-based colleague of Jackson's, said the charges were mob action and soliciting others to commit a crime. Jackson was released without bond on his own recognizance.
Detective Mark Barthelmey said that two officers were struck in the face during the confrontation after Jackson was led away. He did not provide details on who was involved or whether the officers were injured.
The arrests came nine days after Jackson's arrival in Decatur brought national attention to school officials' decision to expel the students for their part in the Sept. 17 fight.
Jackson had indicated earlier he would try to bring the students back to school, but the teenagers did not approach the police line.
"We want the youth to stand still knowing that their parents and their ministers would cross the line for them," Jackson said. "The parents will fight for their children. And that is a good and noble thing."