Thanks to Snopes.com, our fact-checking crew did not need to work overtime debunking Award Winning journalist™ Chuck C. Johnson’s latest crop of racist lies. But they did need to do a little extra work to see if Johnson’s accusations hold any water.
About as well as a colander.
Before launching into a point-by-point analysis here, we would remind our readers that Johnson’s default assumption is to assume all African-American men killed by police officers somehow deserved their deaths. Typically, he roots through their social media accounts, arrest records (if such exist) and court records (if such exist) for anything that would discredit them — presumably in an effort to counteract any feelings of sympathy others have for their deaths.
Johnson has also resorted to doxxing family members of shooting victims. He is most delighted when he uncovers arrests and other misbehavior by victims and their families, and when all else fails, he will fall back on innuendo and guilt by association to smear them.
Following are Johnson’s claims, the facts in question, and our verdict of true or false.
Alton Sterling was shot and killed by a police officer on July 5 in Baton Rouge, LA, while Sterling was pinned to the ground.
CLAIM #1: Sterling was a member of the Bloods gang, based on a photo showing a five-pointed star “tattoo” on his partially shaved head. (See photo at right.)
FACTS via Snopes.com: The star is not a tattoo, but part of his haircut. While star tattoos may indicate Blood membership, there is no evidence that star-shaped haircuts are gang signs. In addition, there is no corroborating evidence Sterling was a Blood.
VERDICT: False. Besides, why would being a gang member justify being shot dead while pinned to the ground?
CLAIM #2: Sterling had a lengthy arrest record, including being a “child rapist” and pedophile.
FACTS via Snopes.com and other sources: In 2000 Sterling, then 20, was convicted of “having carnal knowledge of a juvenile,” a 16-year-old girl. He was entered on the sex offenders list, and his two most recent arrests were for failure to register as a sex offender. Before those arrests, Sterling’s last arrest was in 2009, fully seven years ago. (See image below.)
In addition, Snopes, citing CNN, notes there is no evidence the Baton Rouge officers knew of Sterling’s priors.
VERDICT: Mostly true, but probably irrelevant to the July 5 incident.
CLAIM #3: Sterling was a “deadbeat dad” who owed a considerable amount of past child support.
FACTS: Sterling’s name comes up on Louisiana’s list of seriously delinquent non-custodial parents. (See image below.) But the website notes: “Past due payments were calculated as of 04/12/2016. Any or all arrearages owed may have been paid prior to or after the publication of this information.”
VERDICT: Possibly true, but it is possible Sterling had made payments after April 12. Again, though, we ask why his child support arrearages justify his extra-judicial death. Johnson is resorting to character assassination, per usual.
SUMMARY: Alton Sterling was not an angel, but was trying to make a living selling used CDs and other merchandise. Aside from his failure to register as a sex offender in 2015 and 2016, he had no other arrests since 2009. The convenience store clerk who had called police about an armed man said he was not calling about Sterling, but another man. IOW, the police arrested the wrong man, and shot him. The medical examiner has ruled the shooting a homicide., and the US Department of Justice is investigating the case.
Johnson, however, would have us believe that the police did nothing wrong, and in effect did (white) society a favor by eliminating a (black) “criminal.”
Next, let’s look into Philando Castile, who was killed by a police officer in St. Paul, MN, July 6, as part of a traffic stop. Castile was shot while still in the car, and his girl friend recorded the situation on her cellphone.
CLAIM #1: Piggybacking on a post by The Conservative Treehouse, Johnson claims Castile was a suspect in an armed robbery at a convenience store a couple of nights before. Moreover, he claims the shape of the robber’s ear, as seen in a blurry CCTV image, and the shape of Castile’s ear are very similar, so he alleges Castile WAS the robber, who was fleeing the scene of the crime.
FACTS via Snopes.com: “Police who pulled over and killed Philando Castile reported they thought he might have resembled a suspect in an armed robbery case.”
Snopes refers to a recording from police radio of the officers, who said Castile “looked like” the man who had robbed the store.
But while this audio may document that a police officer thought Castile might have resembled a person wanted for armed robbery, that didn’t mean he was a “suspect” in an armed robbery case or that he was “wanted” for armed robbery — at the time he was killed, nothing linked him to such a crime other than that an officer momentarily thought Castile might have looked a little like someone who had committed a robbery.
To clarify, a suspect is someone whom police have referred to by name, and may have issued a BOLO (be on look out) for specifically. “Wanted” for a crime means law enforcement has already determined the identity of a person committing a crime. Being stopped for questioning did not make Castile a suspect or a wanted criminal.
Really, don’t right wingers pay any attention to TV cop shows?
In addition, the robbery occurred a few nights before Castile was stopped, so Johnson’s claim he was “fleeing the scene” is ludicrous.
VERDICT: False. Castile was not wanted for armed robbery, nor was he even a suspect. He was also not “fleeing” a crime that happened a few days before.
CLAIM #2: Castile had an unregistered firearm. The Conservative Treehouse and its parrot, Chuck Johnson, deny Castile’s claim (as recorded by his girlfriend’s video) to the officers involved that he had a license to carry a firearm, which he told them was on his person. Both TCT and Johnson referred to this tweet by the local sheriff, who said his office had not issued Castile a carry permit.
FACTS via Snopes.com and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Castile did have a permit issued in another county. The brainiacs using the sheriff’s tweet as evidence to the contrary never considered another sheriff’s department may have issued Castile’s permit, probably because they are too lazy to research Minnesota state gun laws.
CLAIM #3: Johnson says Castile, a man who was beloved by the students and staff at the school where he worked, was a “gang banger,” a member of the Crips. He offers as his only evidence a five-year old tweet referring to “Merry Cripmas” and a “happy blue year,” plus a series of photos culled from Castile’s social media accounts depicting Castile in blue clothes, giving the finger to the camera. Johnson also states that Castile followed Crip Facebook pages and referenced the gang in his Facebook status.
His post includes what appears to be a mugshot of Castile, wearing a prison orange jumpsuit. It is apparently a cellphone screencap, with the website www.mhomes.info displayed at top.
FACTS from Snopes.com and elsewhere: Johnson’s so called evidence is circumstantial, and the tweet may have been a joke. We don’t know whether Castile was a member of the Crips or any other gang. We do know, however, that he attended the University of Minnesota and had been employed in the St. Paul Public Schools since 2002. He had been stopped for various traffic violations 52 times, most of which were dismissed, and for two minor drug offenses, also dismissed. In order to be an employee of any school system, Castile would have been subject to a thorough background check, including examination of police and court records. That the St. Paul schools felt he was suitable as an employee carries somewhat more weight that Johnson’s fevered imagination of blue-swathed gang bangers on Facebook.
As for the mugshot, it appears to be genuine. The original source is bustedmugshots.com. However, the website on the image Johnson used, www.mhomes.info cannot be found. Nwtools.com reports that the website registration and ownership has been made private, so the owner of the domain name is unknown. However, that website was created only last month.
The image has Castile apparently wearing a prison jumpsuit, but the arrest was for a misdemeanor offense: driving after his license was revoked. The specific case appears on the Minnesota courts website. Castile was convicted and paid $281 in fines and court costs.
VERDICT: False. There is no compelling evidence Castile was a member of a gang, and despite the menacing mugshot, his most serious offense was a misdemeanor.
In sum, Johnson has once again tried to blame the victims for their own deaths by cop, by concocting an elaborate circumstantial case of their involvement in criminal or “anti-white” activity. And as usual, his efforts are mostly bullshit.