Outraged that Kentucky authorities did not charge anyone with murdering Breonna Taylor, activists have egged on Black Lives Matter protesters with incendiary messages and called for riots in other cities – while blaming Russia.
Taylor, 26, was shot and killed in March, during what was reported to be a “no-knock” drug raid. On Wednesday, however, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the police had properly introduced themselves before Taylor’s boyfriend opened fire on them. One former officer was charged for recklessly shooting through walls, but the crossfire that killed Taylor was ruled justified.
It did not take long for outraged activists to insist that Taylor was “murdered” in her bed and that not charging the officers was tantamount to lawlessness.
Calls to “Burn Louisville” spread like wildfire – with over 20,000 tweets and counting as of 6 PM on Wednesday – while Twitter’s safety enforcers were nowhere to be seen.
Another trending term in Twitter’s main feed – at just under 4,000 examples – was equally incendiary: “Amerikkka” conflates the US with the Ku Klux Klan, a racist organization terrorizing African-Americans in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Though plenty of activists were more than happy to openly call for violence, there were some that insisted it was actually “Russian bots” to blame for the proliferation of “Burn Louisville.”
How Moscow somehow made activist Linda Sarsour (327,000 followers) urge people to “Rise UP. All across this country. Everywhere,” remained unexplained.
Then there was Joshua Potash (132,000 followers), who tweeted out calls for protests in New York, Chicago and Minneapolis, with the line “It’s time to shut it down.”
Every city is going to respond to police being allowed to murder Breonna Taylor. To police being allowed to murder Black people. And police won’t like it. Go ready, go with a group, and keep each other safe.
— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) September 23, 2020
“Every city is going to respond to police being allowed to murder Breonna Taylor. To police being allowed to murder Black people. And police won’t like it,” added Potash, a self-described “teacher who got on Twitter to help defeat fascism and white supremacy” who recently replaced #Resist in his bio with #BlackLivesMatter.
Even some elected officials got in on the calls for a revolution. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who twice ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, denounced the entire US criminal justice system as racist and called for “fundamental change.”
Breonna Taylor’s life mattered. This result is a disgrace and an abdication of justice. Our criminal justice system is racist. The time for fundamental change is now. https://t.co/IPmO9upXbK
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 23, 2020
In anticipation of the possible riots, Louisville boarded up the downtown area and placed police on emergency footing as early as Monday. The Kentucky National Guard was called in on Wednesday. Footage from reporters on the ground show angry protesters confronting officers and smashing store windows as they marched and chanted.
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