Shannon Thaler, Daily Mail, November 16, 2021
Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush’s claim she was shot at ‘by white supremacists’ during the 2014 Ferguson marches has been met with a slew of skepticism – including from the city police chief who said he had no record of the attack.
Bush, 45, a Democratic representative for Missouri’s first congressional district, tweeted on Monday and referred to the ongoing Kyle Rittenhouse trial, who has been accused of shooting two people dead and injuring a third at a racial injustice protest in Kenosha, Washington, last year.
‘When we marched in Ferguson, white supremacists would hide behind a hill near where Michael Brown Jr was murdered and shoot at us.
‘They never faced consequences.
‘If Kyle Rittenhouse gets acquitted, it tells them that even 7 years later they still can get away with it,’ the tweet read.
One day later and the tweet has nearly 15,000 likes and thousands of replies, many accusing Bush of lying and calling on her to reference hard facts and respond to the skeptics.
‘I too like to make up stories,’ one user said.
Ferguson Police Chief Frank McCall Jr even said on Monday that he had no recollection of such an incident.
‘None that I’m aware of,’ he told the St Louis Post-Dispatch, adding that he did not know what the tweet was referencing to.
McCall was named police chief in July of this year but was a veteran officer and chief at the Berkeley Police Department – a city just two miles away from Ferguson.
A spokesperson for Bush’s campaign released a statement later Monday night claiming that ‘while on the frontlines of the Ferguson Uprising, Congresswoman Bush and other activists were shot at by white supremacist vigilantes’.
‘The question we need to ask is why white supremacists feel empowered to open-carry rifles, incite violence, and put Black lives at risk across our country,’ it added.
But Twitter users weren’t so quick to take Bush’s statement so seriously. One reply jokingly referenced Jeopardy and wrote: ‘I’ll take “things that didn’t happen” for $6969’ alongside a picture of a contestant unsure of the answer.
‘Can you offer a rebuttal? Facts should be your friend,’ yet another tweeted while a fourth claimed she was a TV reporter covering the riots.
‘I can tell you this NEVER happened,’ she responded, adding that ‘there wasn’t a hill at the site where Brown was shot’.
‘The street was surrounded by apartments.’
All the while Bush remained silent.
One user asked if Bush was marching with Jussie Smollett, a 39-year-old ‘Empire’ star who was accused of staging a racist and homophobic attack on himself in January 2019 and then lying to police about it.
He pleaded not guilty to allegations that he lied to police about the incident, which authorities later claimed he had staged with two acquaintances to draw attention to himself.
However, the charges were dropped by March and in April the city of Chicago sued Smollett for $130,000 – the cost of the investigation.
Therefore, the tweet was an obvious jab at Bush for fabricating a story to, like Smollett, bolster her publicity.
In fact, Bush gained popularity in the aftermath of the Ferguson protests after Michael Brown Jr, 18, was killed by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in August 2014.
The shooting happened after Wilson told Brown and a friend to get out of the street as they walked down the middle of Canfield Drive on a Sunday afternoon.
A scuffle between Wilson and Brown ensued, ending with the fatal shot. Wilson said Brown came at him menacingly, forcing him to fire his gun in self-defense.
Brown’s body remained in the street for four hours, angering his family and nearby residents.
Some people initially said Brown had his hands up in surrender when Wilson fired, although a grand jury and the US Department of Justice didn’t find those accounts credible.
The teen’s death sparked months of unrest in the city and made the St Louis suburb synonymous with a national debate over police treatment of minorities. Brown Jr’s death was widely regarded as the catalyst of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
However, there were no reports that Bush was shot at in 2014 although there was an article published in June 2020 from local news station KDSK reporting that a white man was charged with shooting into a crowd of peaceful protestors in Brentwood – 12 miles away from Ferguson.
Local activist Ohun Ashe referenced the story in what seemed like one of the only tweets siding with Bush.
‘This is FACTS!’ Ashe tweeted, adding: ‘I vividly remember hiding under porches in Canfield as shots were fired at us. No one came to help us.
‘We would come from under porches using cars as shields in between gun shots to make it out.’
In 2020, six years after a grand jury declined to indict Wilson, St Louis County’s top prosecutor Wesley Bell announced that he will not charge the former officer of murder or manslaughter.
The dramatic decision promised to reopen old wounds amid a renewed and intensified national conversation about racial injustice following the officer-involved death of George Floyd in May 2020.