US

This Lawyer Regularly Makes False And Unfounded Claims About Deaths That Inspired Riots

(Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg General Assignment Reporter
Font Size:

Florida-based attorney Benjamin Crump has a pattern of making inflammatory and false statements about deaths that were later protested by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Crump has represented Jacob Blake and the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Breonna Taylor. Here are some examples of false or unfounded claims the lawyer has spread.

Trayvon Martin

Crump first rose to prominence when he represented the family of Trayvon Martin, who was killed in 2012 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was acquitted of murder charges in Martin’s death in 2013 after defense attorneys argued that Zimmerman acted in self-defense. Crump asserted on CNN that “there was something that night [the Sanford Police Department and Zimmerman] conspired to cover up” after surveillance video showed Zimmerman entering a Sanford police station with a gash on the back of his head.

Michael Brown

Brown was fatally shot in 2014 after attacking Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson.

“Although some witnesses state that Brown held his hands up at shoulder level with his palms facing outward for a brief moment, these same witnesses describe Brown then dropping his hands and ‘charging’ at Wilson,” a report issued by the Justice Department in 2015 revealed, dispelling the myth that Brown was shot as he said “hands up, don’t shoot.”

Nevertheless, Crump remained one of the leading propagators of the myth that Brown was shot as he surrendered to Wilson.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Crump on behalf of the Brown family claimed that Brown “turned around and raised his hands in a non-threatening manner. Upon information and belief, MBJ conveyed the following statement to Defendant Wilson: ‘Don’t shoot. I don’t have a gun. I’m unarmed,” according to Time Magazine. The lawsuit was filed more than a month after the Justice Department report found that Wilson’s account of an assault was corroborated by physical evidence and eyewitnesses. (RELATED: Claim: Darren Wilson Suffered Fractured Eye Socket)

Breonna Taylor

Taylor was killed by Louisville police officers in March 2020 as they executed a search warrant on her apartment. Crump claimed that “police had the wrong address and their real suspect was already in custody.”

Police were investigating Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, who was awaiting trial on drug charges. According to a search warrant, Glover was receiving packages connected to drug trafficking at Taylor’s home.

The police officer who obtained the warrant, Joshua Jaynes, was later fired after investigators determined that his presentation of the facts to the judge was “misleading.” Jaynes did not personally receive the information listed in the warrant from a postal inspector, and other witnesses told Louisville police that Taylor did not receive packages, “suspicious or otherwise,” from Glover at her home.

George Floyd

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd’s death. Crump, however, repeated a claim that Floyd and Chauvin knew each other, and that Chauvin targeted Floyd.

The nightclub worker who claimed that Floyd and Chauvin knew each other and clashed later admitted to CBS News that he confused Floyd with another coworker.

Jacob Blake

Crump is representing Jacob Blake, a Kenosha man who was tased and shot multiple times by a police officer. He is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the shooting. Blake later admitted to Michael Strahan on Good Morning America that he was in possession of a knife. (RELATED: ESPN Corrects Article Claiming Jacob Blake Was ‘Unarmed’ After Getting Ripped For ‘Indefensible’ Error)

Initial media reports, which Crump promoted on Twitter, claimed that Blake broke up a fight at his child’s birthday party. However, a 911 call revealed that Blake was actually in the process of allegedly stealing a car owned by his ex-girlfriend, who had taken out a restraining order against him after he allegedly sexually assaulted her.

Ma’Khia Bryant

Ma’Khia Bryant, a Columbus, Ohio teenager, was shot and killed by a police officer after she attempted to stab another girl. Crump echoed media coverage claiming that Bryant was another unarmed black victim of police brutality.

Daunte Wright

Crump claimed that Wright’s shooting was intentional. “You can spot the difference between a gun and a taser from a mile away!” he tweeted.

Police body camera footage shows police officer Kim Potter yelling “Taser!” at Wright before shooting him with her service weapon. Brooklyn Center police chief Tim Gannon, who has since resigned, said he believed that the shooting was accidental. Potter was charged with second-degree manslaughter in Wright’s death.