We’ve been down this road before. A black celebrity decides to conduct a personal witch hunt against a police officer implicated in the shooting of a fellow black but targets the wrong person.
In late 2013, filmmaker Spike Lee tweeted out to his quarter million followers the putative address of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch member whose gun went off in a scuffle with teen Trayvon Martin. The act would have been pure malice if Lee had gotten the address right. He didn’t. The elderly couple living at Zimmerman’s former address, David and Elaine McClain, were inundated with death threats and ultimately forced to move. They sued Lee for $1.2 million.
You might think other black celebs would learn from Lee’s mistake. Not a chance. The Smoking Gun reports:
A popular rapper today identified the wrong man as one of the two Louisiana cops being investigated in connection with the shooting death of Alton Sterling.
In a post this morning to his Instagram page — which has 9.5 million followers — Meek Mill (real name: Robert Williams) posted two photos of Robert J. Kinnison as well as a screen grab of a portion of Kinnison’s Twitter page containing his name.
Above the images, a caption declared “the officer that shot #AltonSterling but the media won’t show you these pictures of him.”
Except that Kinnison is not a cop. He describes himself as a trucker from Arizona. Police have named Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake as the officers involved in Tuesday night’s shooting of Sterling, 37, outside a Baton Rouge convenience store.
The Smoking Gun indicates that Meek Mill’s post remains online. I clicked on the link to the rapper’s Instagram page and was unable to locate it. It may have been pulled since the Smoking Gun piece was posted.
The damage, nevertheless, has been done:
In a video posted online, Kinnison said that he has received “lots of death threats” due to his being identified as one of the Baton Rouge police officers. “I want everyone to know that I’m not a cop from Louisiana. I am a trucker from Arizona. Get that straight,” said Kinnison. He added, “Someone has majorly trolled me on the Internet.”
A comment from the president is expected … never.