The identity of the lone female protester pictured on Saturday calmly standing in front of a phalanx of riot police is reported to be Pennsylvania nurse Ieshia Evans.
Speaking to the Washington Post, R. Alex. Haynes, who identified Evans as his “best friend” for 20 years, said she has a five-year-old child and went to Baton Rouge “because she wanted to look her son in the eyes to tell him she fought for his freedom and rights.” She was attending one of the many protests that erupted around the U.S. over the weekend following the fatal killing of Alton Sterling in the Louisiana capital and Philando Castile in Minnesota by police officers.
Haynes confirmed the authenticity of Evans’ Facebook account and said that she was released from jail Sunday evening. In a message posted on that account, Evans appeared to confirm her identity as the woman in the viral photo taken by Jonathan Bachman for Reuters.
She then linked to a Daily Mail article about her, saying she was indeed a licensed practising nurse but the story “has holes.”
In a statement to the Post, Haynes wife Natasha said that Evans is originally from Brooklyn and travelled to the Louisiana city after the fatal shooting of Sterling by police officers. “She was overcome by emotions while she was watching the protest,” said Natasha in the statement to the Post. “The officers wanted to push the protesters and viewers further back and she found that unjust — given that it was a peaceful protest.”