Claude Gray, known as Paradise Gray by most, was released around 9 p.m. on July 16, after a coalition of community members posted his bail.
He was arrested earlier in the day and charged with obstructing highways and other public pathways and for resisting arrest at a Northside United protest in front of the Del Monte Building on the North Shore.
Northside United, a community organizing group that has been trying to convince North Shore developers to invest in the Northside and unionize workers, blocked the entrance of the Del Monte Building as an intentional act of civil disobedience.
Four people were arrested at the scene, including Angel Gober, Barney Oursler, Rachel Canning and Gray. All except for Gray were released at the scene and charged with civil disobedience.
Gray said he is not affiliated with Northside United, and that he was at the event to take pictures and video, something that he often does at community events and protests.
“I definitely never intended to get arrested,” he said.
He said that Canning and Gober were sitting in the revolving doorway to block it when a large man tried to forcefully push his way through.
Gray said he stepped in to prevent the women from being hurt, and that he told them to get up and let the man out, but that as soon as he put his hand on the door to give the women a chance to move, the police arrested him.
“I wasn’t blocking the building in any way,” Gray said.
Police Sergeant Lou Gaila, who arrived on the scene after Gray was arrested, said that Gray was given a verbal warning to step away from the door, and when he did not move, officers stepped in to physically remove him.
“He resisted the officer’s attempt to pull him away from the door,” Gaila said. Gray denies resisting the officers.
Officers took Gray to the Allegheny County Jail, where he was held until 8:50 p.m.
Gray said that a group of about 22 people from the community came together to pay his bail and waited for him outside the jail until he was released.
The court posted bail at $2,000 and required that 10 percent be paid to secure Gray’s release.