For nearly two years, activist group Black Lives Matter has campaigned for the fair treatment of Black people in America.
Founders Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi used the ultimate power of social media to call attention to the deaths of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Eric Garner, among many others. With over 20 chapters in the United States, the group’s mission has expanded beyond police brutality into placing stake in the livelihood of all African-Americans.
As the nation dissects racism in a whole new way, BLM has become the subject of backlash. Conservative critics consistently blame tension between African-Americans and police officers on the movement and while the network has taken the blows, it hasn’t fallen to its knees.
Despite the good, criticism and broad accusations about the dangers of Black Lives Matter have dotted the media in recent months.
Since the beginning of the year, riots, vandalism, and even deaths have been placed at the movement’s front door. Here are just some of the incidents Black Lives Matter has been blamed for, how they were proven wrong, and what followed after.
Death Of Illinois Cop By Alleged BLM Supporters Turns Out To Be Suicide By Own Gun
The Incident: In September, it was reported that Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz was killed while chasing a trio of Black suspects through the Fox Lake, Illinois woods. Many believed the culprits were in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and acted out in revenge. Gliniewicz was labeled a hero who died in the line of duty, and thousands sent money to the family for support. Critics of BLM had new ammo, questioning whether the movement’s message was spiraling out of control.
What Really Happened: After a massive manhunt for the suspects left investigators empty-handed, they finally revealed Gliniewicz staged a “cleverly crafted suicide” in fear of being exposed for embezzling from his youth group program. CNN reports Gliniewicz stole thousands from the Fox Lake Police Explorer program over seven years, spending it on mortgage, adult websites, loans, and much more. On Thursday, it was revealed that in addition to embezzling money, Gliniewicz sought out a hit man to kill a Village of Fox Lake employee, whom he feared would expose him for his misdeeds. He also planned to plant cocaine on the employee to discredit her.
From the Associated Press: A detective involved in the investigation told the AP on Thursday that Gliniewicz apparently also sought a hit man to kill the village administrator, Anne Marrin. Det. Chris Covelli said Gliniewicz sent a text in April asking a woman to set up a meeting with a “high ranking gang member to put a hit on” Marrin.
Texas Man Vandalizes Own Car, Blames Black Lives Matter Movement To Collect Insurance Money
The Incident: Black Lives Matter members vandalized a Texas man’s pickup truck just after the murder of slain Houston Deputy Darren Goforth. Scott Lattin’s story was supported by police officers and others who donated $6,000 to a GoFundMe to help him get a new car.
What Really Happened: During a follow-up report with a local news team, police noticed Lattin shared details that weren’t in the original police report. After questioning him again about the vandalism, he confessed he destroyed his own car to collect the insurance money.
The Result: Lattin was charged with making a false police report, with additional charges pending. The GoFundMe was subsequently closed.
2016 Presidential GOP Candidates Blame Black Lives Matter For Crimes & Police Killings
The Incident: When the GOP presidential candidates kicked off their respective campaigns, Black Lives Matter became a big topic. Wisconsin Gov. (and former candidate) Scott Walker and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz blamed the group for the murders of police officers and spikes in crime. Slate reported Walker slammed BLM for antagonizing Americans to kill cops, while Cruz called the movement “disgraceful” during his campaign stop in Iowa last month.
What Really Happened: Walker’s biggest weapon against BLM was a viral video of a small group of protesters in St. Louis calling cops “pigs,” and saying they should “fry like bacon” during a rally. St. Louis BLM organizer Rashad Turner spoke with Don Lemon and called the chant a fleeting moment in the overall peaceful protest.
The distasteful moment could be compared to the police-favored protest against Eric Garner. Supporters took Garner’s final words – “I Can’t Breathe” – and spun them to cater to police officers.
As for crime increases? A report by the Pew Research Center shows national crimes including gun homicides have been at their lowest in a generation. Violence is still a painful problem in lower class Black neighborhoods, but rates are decreasing slowly.
The Result: Presidential candidates are talking about Black lives in a way they haven’t before. During the Democratic national debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders stood by the phrase “Black Lives Matter,” while on the other side, Donald Trump promised never to meet with its leaders. The conversation has hit the national scale, forcing everyone to finally wake up and pay attention. [Slate]
Police Officers Claimed To Be Shot By BLM Supporters, Actually Shot Themselves & Staged Crime Scenes
The Incidents: In September, Bryan Johnson of Millis, Mass. claimed he was attacked by a gunman while in his police car, causing him to slam into a tree. He claimed a White male in a red truck fired at him, and his car was later found engulfed in flames. Meanwhile, Police Sgt. David Houser of England, Arkansas claimed he was shot in the chest by a Hispanic man during a traffic stop in October. According to Fusion, both police officers received online support from Police Lives Matter groups.
What Really Happened: Investigations revealed both men lied and set up crime scenes to back their stories. Johnson was arrested and charged with misleading a criminal investigation, communicating false information to emergency services, malicious destruction of property, and unlawful discharge of a firearm. He is currently out on bail. Houser was relieved of his duties and is expected to appear in court over the “shooting” on Nov. 16.
The Result: The cases were brought to the public’s attention earlier this week by
Police Believe Suspect Who Killed Deputy Was Influenced By BLM, Reports Find Him Mentally Incompetent
The Incident: Texas Deputy Darren Goforth was reportedly shot and killed by Shannon J. Miles in late August when he was at a gas station in Houston. While Goforth was pumping gas, Miles reportedly approached him and shot him in the head. According to The Huffington Post, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman claimed because Miles is Black and Goforth was White, the Black Lives Matter movement should be held responsible.
He also said the group’s rhetoric can influence people to commit crimes against police, although that has never been proven. Miles was charged with capital murder.
The defense also questioned the charges when it was revealed Goforth wasn’t pumping gas into his patrol car as previously reported. Witnesses claim a married Goforth was meeting a woman he was secretly dating for the past 15 months. Miles’ capital murder charge for killing a police officer in the line of duty could be decreased to a murder charge, taking away the chance of a death penalty.
The Result: Miles has undergone a psychological examination for the defense’s case. He is currently in an isolation cell. Goforth’s family has received over $600,000 from supporters. A GoFundMe raised $371,278, and $232,000 was collected by the gas station where Goforth was killed. A final motive has not yet been uncovered. [KHOU, Chron, The Huffington Post]
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter
Watch Roland Martin and NewsOne Now discuss the case of Officer Joe Gliniewicz who embezzled money and staged his own murder in the video clip blow.
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