A prominent Black Lives Matter activist was shot and killed Tuesday, apparently while riding his bicycle in New Orleans, authorities said.
Muhiydin Moye, 32, who became a notable figure in the Black Lives Matter movement after the fatal police shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina, gained national attention last year when he hurled himself onto a Confederate flag on live television in Charleston, S.C. (His first name has also been spelled as Muhiyidin and Muhiyyidin by different police departments, family members and friends.)
Moye, who used the last name d’Baha, was shot in the thigh in the early morning hours Tuesday and rushed to a hospital, where he died, New Orleans police spokesman Beau Tidwell said in a statement. Police are investigating the shooting, which has been classified as aggravated battery. No suspect has been named.
Officers responded about 1:30 a.m. to a call about a man who was lying on the ground on Bienville Street asking for help, according to a police report.
When officers arrived, they found him on his back — bleeding, according to the report. They spotted a black mountain bike across the street “covered in blood along the right side of the bike,” the report said.
Moye was rushed to a hospital, police said.
Moye’s niece, Camille Weaver, wrote on a GoFundMe page that about 9 a.m., “we received a phone call saying that he had died due to excessive blood loss.”
By Wednesday afternoon, the page had raised more than $19,000 to help cover the costs to transport his body from New Orleans to Charleston and also pay funeral and memorial expenses, according to the GoFundMe page.
“I can say that our family is beyond appreciative for the outpouring of love and support we’ve received today,” Weaver wrote Tuesday night. “Moya was a light and he will shine on forever.”
In February 2017, Moye was captured on video breaking through two strands of police tape outside the College of Charleston and lunging at a plastic flagpole that a man was carrying with the Confederate flag flying atop it.
That incident occurred not long before fellow activist Bree Newsome was scheduled to speak at the college. Newsome made headlines of her own in 2015 when she removed the Confederate flag from a pole outside the South Carolina statehouse.
After Moye’s actions last year, he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, according to reports.
As The Washington Post reported, Moye said demonstrators had read that people from the South Carolina Secessionist Party were attending Newsome’s speech, so the demonstrators wanted to send them a clear message: “We will not receive that kind of intimidation.”
“We just really wanted to assure her that she was going to be safe in coming, that people that want to come and hear her speak will be able to come and hear her speak,” he said at the time.
Moye said he was speaking with “elders” when he noticed the secessionists.
“And I looked at our elders and I saw, like, fear in their eyes,” he said. “And I saw them back up, almost. That was the moment for me. We’re not going to pass this on another generation. Not another generation of people are going to be intimidated by this flag.”
Moye said he grabbed the Confederate flag to help the group “understand what it is to meet a real resistance, to meet people that aren’t scared.”
Following the news Tuesday that Moye had died, Thomas Dixon, a pastor and political activist, remembered him as a “brother” and “soldier.”
“For all who have stood on the battlefield of social justice activism in the Lowcountry and throughout our State, we’ve lost a great brother to senseless gun violence today,” Dixon, who co-founded the activist group the Coalition: People United To Take Back Our Community, wrote Tuesday on Facebook.
“Moya Moye, I am eternally grateful to you and for you . . . for your spirit that refused to accept injustice, your courage that showed the world that fear in the face of wrong was not an option, and your strength that kept you on the battlefield, even when no one else was there. I will forever miss you, my brother. I, for one, know just how much you enriched my life. Soldiers together . . . forever.”
“Whoever did this to Muhiyyidin will never know what they took from the world. Hear him . . . ” Dixon wrote in a subsequent post, linking to a 2017 documentary in which Moye spoke about African Americans’ fight for emancipation in South Carolina.
“Having a national identity is still something we’re hunting for,” Moye told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “Unfortunately, can’t just say that we’re American if we don’t get to experience the freedom and the liberties and the equity of that. So the strategic move to keep our history — especially our history of resistance, rebellion and fight for a liberation — to keep that history silent and out of our waking consciousness is deliberate and strategic.”
Brandon Fish, who identified himself as a friend of Moye’s in a Facebook post on Tuesday, called Moye’s death “a random act of violence.”
Fish, who said he was in “total shock,” explained that he was told that a “dear friend, and one of Charleston’s most important and beloved grassroots leaders, Muhiyyidin D’baha,” had been killed in New Orleans.
“He had so much life and energy and intellectual curiosity and capacity and love and positive energy,” Fish wrote. “The last thing he said to me was that he was doing community work out of town and that he was learning so that he could come back to Charleston and help empower the people.
“He was loved by all of his friends and respected by all those who want to see social and racial justice in Charleston. We all have lost so much, so very much, whether you know it or not. This world was a better place because he walked around in it (barefoot, so he could feel the vibrations of the Earth of course). Please respect the family during this time as more information comes out. I am more sad than I can express in words, and my hands are still shaking as I type this post, but I thought Moya’s friends should know.”
Newsome said she was “still without words.”
“Waiting for more news & details,” Newsome wrote early Wednesday on Twitter. “Thoughts & prayers to his family and community.”