Married LGBTQ leaders were taking car for repairs before arrest in Philadelphia traffic stop

LGBTQ Philadelphia trooper
Celena Morrison-McLean, executive director of the city’s Office of LGBT Affairs, speaks at a news conference last year.
Jack Tomczuk / Metro File Photo

By MARYCLAIRE DALE Associated Press

The married LGBTQ leaders arrested during a contentious traffic stop in Philadelphia were driving separately to take a car for repairs when a trooper pulled one of them over, their lawyer said Tuesday.

LGBTQ Philadelphia
Pictured is a screenshot from the recorded cell phone video of a state trooper handcuffing Darius McLean on I-76 West near the Vine Street Expressway.

Celena Morrison, who leads the city’s Office of LGBT Affairs and is a top aide to Mayor Cherelle Parker, and her husband were detained Saturday for about 12 hours following the 9 a.m. highway stop.

“She’s broken up about it,” lawyer Kevin Mincey said.

Morrison recorded cellphone video of a state trooper handcuffing her husband, Darius McLean, as he lay in the rain on the shoulder of an elevated highway, before she too was handcuffed and detained.

“The next exit up was the mechanic,” Mincey said. “They were going to get the car serviced.”

The state trooper had been driving in front of Morrison before maneuvering himself between the couple’s two vehicles, the lawyer said. McLean, who was following Morrison, stopped when she was pulled over. The trooper, on the video, said he stopped her for tailgating and failing to have her lights on.

Both she and McLean, who runs a well-known LGBTQ community center in the city, are cooperating with authorities, Mincey said. Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has not yet decided whether to pursue the charges initiated by the trooper, which include obstruction and resisting arrest.

Parker called the scene captured on the video “very concerning.”

The trooper can be heard asking McLean why he was “rolling up” on him after the traffic stop, as Morrison tries to explain that he’s her husband.

“I don’t know why he’s doing this,” McLean cries as he is handcuffed. “It’s ’cause I’m Black.”

“It’s not ’cause you’re Black,” the trooper, who appears to be white, replies before moving to arrest Morrison as well.

“Give me your hands or you’re getting Tased!” he yells as she drops the cellphone.

Morrison, 51, who is transgender, has held the city post since 2020. McLean, 35, is chief operating officer of the William Way LGBT Community Center.

State police declined to identify the trooper but said he was put on restrictive duty amid the investigation.