Police in Chicago have rejected any notion Black Lives Matter was connected to the four people who were charged Thursday over the beating of a man with mental health issues who, on a Facebook Live video shot by his assailants, was shown cowering in a corner with his mouth taped shut.
Immediately after the Facebook video went viral, many started to blame Black Lives Matter for the attack. In fact, #BLMKidnapping was one of the top trends on Twitter Thursday, with Paul Joseph Watson, editor at the alt-right conspiracy theorist website "Infowars,” being one of the first to use the hashtag.
"To attack us ... it's ridiculous," Kofi Ademola Xola, an activist with BLM Chicago, said according to the website DNAinfo.
"The reality is it's a very calculated, malicious attempt to undermine the legitimate justice that we're fighting for and to potentially advocate violence being perpetrated against us."
The four Black people who carried out the act against the white victim were shouting “Fuck Donald Trump! Fuck white people!” as they filmed the disturbing video, suggesting the incident may have been provoked by the climate of political hostility toward Black people, Muslims, immigrants and other minorities generated during the president-elect's vitriolic campaign.
“What happened to the young man who was held captive and tortured is terrible and we condemn the violence that was perpetrated against him,” the Chicago branch of Black Lives Matter said in a statement Wednesday night.
“We've stated time and time again, that we're against all types of harm and violence perpetrated and we've never condoned it. So this is absolutely perplexing and twisted that people are associating this atrocity with this organization and movement.”
The Black Lives Matter movement was born out of a viral hashtag with the same words following a jury’s acquittal of George Zimmerman for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
It has since evolved into a movement against police killings of Black people, particularly following the high-profile cases of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray.
Since its early stages, the hashtag faced a backlash from conservative voices who argued that focusing on Black lives meant that other lives were somehow deemed less important, despite a string of high-profile killings of mainly Black men by white police officers.