A Black Lives Matter activist has claimed the ‘Black Panther of Oxford’, Sasha Johnson, may have been the unintended victim of a drive-by shooting of a house party by a gang.
Police have not officially confirmed that a 27-year-old woman in critical condition after being shot in the head in London in the early hours of Sunday morning is Sasha Johnson, a key member of the Taking the Initiative Party (TTIP), the New Black Panther Party UK, and Black Lives Matter Oxford — which is autonomous of the Twitter-verified Black Lives Matter UK organisation — but she has been named as such by TTIP and several news organisations.
The police have released a statement saying that “there is nothing to suggest that the woman who was shot was the subject of a targeted attack or that she had received any credible threats against her prior to this incident” and asking that people “avoid speculating as to the motive or the circumstances behind it” — but fellow BLM activist Imarn Ayton has told the BBC that she believes Johnson was hit unintentionally by a gang targeting a house party for a drive-by shooting.
‘They resorted to driving past & shooting into the garden…one of those shots hit Sasha Johnson’
Imarn Ayton on the shooting of Black Lives Matter campaigner Sasha Johnson at a party. Ms Ayton says Ms Johnson wasn’t the ‘intended victim’, & the activist has undergone surgery pic.twitter.com/IHsXbK7Vym
— Victoria Derbyshire (@vicderbyshire) May 24, 2021
“As far as we’re aware [Johnson] was at a party and there was a rival gang that may have heard about a person being there that they didn’t feel comfortable with, or trusted, so they resorted to driving past and shooting into a garden. And one of those shots obviously hit Sasha Johnson, but I don’t believe she was the intended target,” said Ayton, founder of the UK Black Reformist Movement, in a televised interview with the British public broadcaster.
“This incident is more related to rival gangs than to her activism,” Ayton added — although, as mentioned previously, no such specifics have been confirmed by the authorities at this time.
Despite Ayton’s claims, and police requests that people “avoid speculating as to the motive” of the shooting, some prominent groups and individuals have already appeared to suggest that it is possible Johnson was targeted for her political activism.
“We are saddened to hear that Sasha Johnson is fighting for her life after a critical wound and following numerous death threats. While Sasha wasn’t part of our organisation, she impressively founded a new Black-led political party and was dedicated to resist anti-Black racism. Any attempt to intimidate or silence her, is an attack on all of us. Touch one, touch all,” wrote the Black Lives Matter UK on social media — despite there being no evidence that a desire to “intimidate or silence her” played any role in the shooting at this time.
Labour’s Diane Abbott, the hard-left Member of Parliament for Hackney, reacted to the shooting by saying: “Black activist #SashaJohnson in hospital in critical condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head. Nobody should have to potentially pay with their life because they stood up for racial justice” — again, despite there being no evidence at this time that the shooting had anything to do with the fact that she “stood up for racial justice”.
A vigil at the hospital where Johnson is being treated is currently planned for 3 p.m.
This story is developing…
Black activist #SashaJohnson in hospital in critical condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head. Nobody should have to potentially pay with their life because they stood up for racial justice #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/AlE4ELXiFl
— Diane Abbott MP (@HackneyAbbott) May 24, 2021