Black Lives Matter activists are demanding that Facebook restore the personal Facebook account of a dead woman who got her son shot in an hours-long standoff with police officers.
The deceased woman is Korryn Gaines. The cops were trying to serve her with an outstanding arrest warrant for a previous failure to appear in court.
Baltimore County, Maryland police fatally shot Gaines, 23, on Aug. 1 after an hours-long confrontation at her apartment during which Gaines directly threatened police with the long shotgun she was cradling.
Throughout the standoff, Gaines had her 5-year-old son with her. The boy was injured by a gunshot during the shooting part of the standoff.
Police chief Jim Johnson said that warrant squad members arrived around 9:20 a.m. at Gaines’s apartment to issue arrest warrants to Gaines and a man who lived there.
Johnson said that Gaines was wanted for failing to appear in court for a case in which she was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and some traffic violations.
Police say they knocked on the door and heard a man’s voice and a woman’s voice inside. The police identified themselves, but no one answered. One officer retrieved keys to the apartment from the landlord to gain entry.
Johnson said when police entered, Gaines was sitting on the floor with her son in her arms as she held the shotgun. Tactical personnel came to the apartment and tried to negotiate with her for hours.
“During that dialogue and conversation, she repeatedly pointed a long gun at the police officers,” Johnson said. (RELATED: Police Shoot Mother Who Allegedly Threatened Them With Gun)
According to Johnson, Gaines pointed the gun at officers and threatened to kill them if they did not leave. At that point, an officer fired at her and she fired back. Police shot again, killing her.
It’s not clear who fired the shot which hit the boy. He is expected to survive.
During the police standoff which led to her death and the gunshot injury of her 5-year-old boy, Gaines decided it would be a good idea to broadcast the entire event via Facebook.
After Gaines met her gruesome end, Facebook deleted what amounted to an autobiographical snuff film. Facebook also deleted Gaines’s personal Facebook account entirely.
This week, a group of 41 activist groups — including Million Hoodies Movement for Justice; Daily Kos, ClimateTruth.org (a global warming outfit) and, of course, the National LGBTQ Task Force — have signed a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg complaining about the elimination of Gaines’s death video and her Facebook account.
“If your company agrees to censor people’s accounts at the request of police — thereby allowing the police to control what the public sees on Facebook — then it is part of the problem,” a stern letter to Zuckerberg pontificates.
It’s not clear that any police group requested censorship of Gaines’s Facebook account or anything else on Facebook.
In any case, the signatories of the letter have three demands:
- Explain what happened that caused Facebook to shut down Korryn Gaines’ account, and fully restore it.
- Clarify Facebook’s position on collaborating with police and law enforcement to censor data and video.
- Institute a policy regarding the censorship of content and video that protects individual civil liberties and is transparent and accountable to the public.
“Mark Zuckerberg has been a notable supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and taken a stance on issues of racial justice in the United States in the past few years,” Nicole Carty, of SumOfUs, one of the groups making demands to Facebook, said in a statement sent to The Daily Caller.
“In recent years, social media and shareable video have been instrumental in raising awareness about the ongoing epidemic of police violence against people of color in the United States,” Carty added.
“By bowing to police demands to deactivate Korryn Gaines’s Facebook account and livestream, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook are complicit in silencing victims of police violence,” charged Color Of Change executive director Rashad Robinson. “Livestreaming platforms like Facebook Live have played a critical role in broadcasting Black voices and holding the police accountable. But, when companies like Facebook compromise the integrity of such platforms, they are burying our community’s stories and potentially participating in police cover ups that perpetuate this cycle of violence.”
“Mark Zuckerberg should take a moment to #SayHerName: Korryn Gaines,” Center for Media Justice organizing director Steven Renderos urged.
“Facebook censored Korryn Gaines’ coverage of her standoff with police, a standoff that led to her death,” complained Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas.