Philadelphia Mayor ‘Concerned’ Following Viral Arrest of LGBTQ+ City Leader and Husband

None of that was probably necessary....

A viral video of a Black LGBTQ+ Philadelphia leader being arrested on a busy highway has Mayor Cherelle Parker concerned. 

Head of the city’s Office of LGBT Affairs, Celena Morrison, and her husband, Darius McLean, were arrested by a white state trooper during a traffic stop that went left. The whole incident was recorded, with Parker saying the video is “very concerning.”

“A video circulating on social media that depicts a portion of the incident is very concerning to me,” she said in a limited statement as she waits for the investigation to yield more information. 

Morrison and McLean were pulled over on Mach 2 shortly after 9 a.m. while driving on Interstate 76. Morrison filmed the whole ordeal, showing her husband being handcuffed in the rain while lying down on the shoulder of the roadway. “Do you want to get Tased? Put your hands behind your back!” the officer can be heard saying. 

To de-escalate the situation, Morrison shouted, “I work for the mayor! I work for the mayor!” before telling her husband not to worry. 

Afterward, McLean says, “It’s ’cause I’m Black.”

The unidentified officer seemingly moves toward Morrison, telling her to turn around. After the camera ends on the ground, the officer tells the city leader, “Give me your hands, or you’re getting Tased!”

Morrison then tells her husband, “Don’t worry. I don’t know why this is happening,” and “Stay calm; we ain’t done nothing wrong,” before the officer is heard yelling to McLean not to reach for anything. 

Police reported the city-based community center owners were pulled over “after multiple vehicle code violations were observed.”

Both were detained on obstruction and resisting arrest charges; District Attorney Larry Krasner has not filed charges.

The DA’s office said in a statement that it had “made no charging decision pending a thorough, even-handed investigation.”

A state police spokesperson said the trooper will not be on patrol while the investigation is ongoing. 

Growing support for the city leader was evident on social media. Chris Bartlett, executive director of the William Way LGBT Center, referred to the situation as “yet another example in the long institutional history of over-policing and disproportional outcomes against Black, Brown, and LGBTQ+ people, particularly Black trans people.”

Media personality and LGBTQ+ community member Ts Madison shared the video, issuing a statement on behalf of Philadelphia Black Pride. “Philadelphia Black Pride denounces any use of excessive force on any person of the black, brown, and/or LGBTQIA+ community,” she wrote. 

“Upholding the rights and dignity of all members of the community, especially those from marginalized groups, is crucial for fostering a just and inclusive society.”

Morrison, who is transgender, has held her position since 2020 and remained a top aide to Parker after she took office in January 2024.