I, like many of you, have been closely following the investigation of Sandra Bland’s death, largely on Twitter. Many activists have been sharing details, exploring inconsistencies, and helping spread information.
I was following these events again today when I saw a few RTs from an account associated with Anonymous, announcing that they had video proof to discern what happened to Sandra Bland. They say they will post that footage at 5pm EST today under the hashtag #SandraWasMurdered.
At first I took it for face value; maybe they did have the ability to hack something and access information we don’t have yet. Responses to that tweet were either trepidation, fear, or incredulity.
I saw a few other tweets they wrote, raising questions about Sandra’s mugshot. Scrolling through my timeline, I came upon the same exact tweets from a Black activist on Facebook. They straight up plagiarized this person.
This is not the first time Anonymous has done something like this. Last year, when protests erupted in Ferguson around the murder of Michael Brown, activist Feminista Jones was organizing a National Moment of Silence for victims of police brutality.
She posted a Google doc on Twitter with locations for over 100 local events in over 40 states coordinating for this event. Anonymous stole this Google doc, and posted it as organizing information for their own “National Day of Rage,” essentially asking people to come get rowdy at this peaceful event. They co-opted a Black activist’s work to disrupt their event. Why?
Now, they claim to have video footage of Sandra’s death, and they are again using the language “Day of Rage.”
They claim to be fighting for justice for Sandra Bland, but they discuss her death by stealing words from Black activists. Why?
Why is Anonymous plagiarizing POC under the guise of supporting POC causes? What do they stand to gain, and if they actually give a shit, why can’t they stop stealing from Black people?
They released an image claiming to be Sandra Bland’s “unphotoshopped” mugshot. To me, it appears that they have in fact photoshopped her to look dead. They gave no warning before posting this very graphic image. That image is now being used by Twitter trolls who are creating accounts with hateful and offensive content.