Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson continued his pattern of jumping to conclusions and getting his facts wrong on Wednesday when he tweeted out to his 200,000 followers that the man who fatally shot a TV reporter and cameraman in Virginia was white.
McKesson quibbled with initial reports that the shooter — who had not been identified at the time — was a disgruntled ex-employee. The activist, who began touring the country as an organized protester after the Michael Brown shooting last year, appeared to believe that the shooter was white. He compared the initial reports to how Muslims are characterized as “terrorists” following similar incidents.
Why you don't jump to extremely racist conclusions before the facts are known, ladies and gentlemen. Congrats, @deray pic.twitter.com/IELtYeqtbw
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) August 26, 2015
McKesson deleted the tweet after the shooter was identified as Vester Lee Flanagan, a 41-year-old black man. He later acknowledged his incorrect tweet laying blame on false reports, but did not offer an apology.
A longtime news reporter, Flanagan had been fired from WDBJ in 2013. He claimed in a series of tweets that the reporter he shot, Alison Parker, a white woman, had used racial epithets at work. Flanagan also has a history of filing racial discrimination complaints. In 2000, he sued a Tallahassee news station claiming that a supervisor called him a “monkey.”
Ironically, earlier on Wednesday, McKesson appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” to talk about his activism and the Black Lives Matter movement and scolded a critical caller for not getting her facts correct.
The caller argued that McKesson should focus more on cases of so-called black-on-black crime.
“So when you say that people broke the laws, that simply is not true, and I’d push you to do more homework before you hurl accusations,” McKesson responded to the caller.
McKesson himself has been accused of playing fast-and-loose with the facts in the past. In many of the cases he’s protested — from the Michael Brown case to Freddie Gray’s death to Sandra Bland’s — McKesson has made claims to his large Twitter following that turned out to be false. (RELATED: All Evidence Suggests That Sandra Bland Killed Herself, But DeRay McKesson Continues To Claim She Was Murdered)
McKesson has become a hot commodity for several presidential campaigns. Hillary Clinton invited him to a campaign event in June. And Bernie Sanders reached out to him on Twitter to set up a meeting to discuss the Black Lives Matter movement.