UK-based Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson is in critical condition after suffering from a gunshot wound to the head on May 23rd, 2021. The incident took place in South London during the early hours of that Sunday it took place. Johnson’s affiliated group, Taking The Initiative released a statement on their official Facebook page addressing the situation.
Taking the Initiative’s statement said: “It is with great sadness that we inform you that our own Sasha Johnson has sustained a gunshot wound to her head. She is currently hospitalized and in critical condition. The incident happened in the early hours of this morning, following numerous death threats. Sasha has always been actively fighting for black people and the injustices that surround the black community, as well as being both a member of BLM and a member of Taking the Initiative Party’s Executive Leadership Committee. Sasha is also a mother of 3 and a strong, powerful voice for our people and our community.”
Taking the Initiative isn’t the only group that believes that Johnson could have been targeted due to her activism against racial injustices. Member of the Parliament for Hackney North and Stoke Newington Diane Abbott tweeted her thoughts on the incident.
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
Even though many friends and family of Johnson’s have assumed the incident was a targeted attack due to her activism and beliefs, a police statement was released that stated that it was nothing that suggested it was a targeted attack. Talking The Initiative was quick to respond to the police statement on their Facebook.
“Ultimately, it appears as though the Met police are exercising damage control by underestimating the severity of this incident; firstly, by insinuating that Sasha’s activism and involvement with Taking the Initiative Party and the BLM movement is not the cause of this incident, however, they have no evidence to show otherwise.”
Following the Taking the Initiative’s statement, it was reported that Johnson’s incident could have been a mistake. That the activist could have just been at the wrong place, at the wrong time. However, detectives on the case couldn’t confirm if that was true just yet.
On May 28th, CNN reported that 18 years old Cameron Deriggs would be charged with conspiracy to murder after shooting Johnson on the 23rd of May. He was among five men arrested Wednesday on suspicion of attempted murder in the case. Deriggs and two others were also arrested on suspicion of affray (a group fight) and possession with intent to supply Class B drugs. The youngest out of the five that was arrested is only a 17-year-old who was arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon and possession with intent to supply Class A drugs. The fifth man, 25, was arrested on suspicion of affray and failing to stop for the police.
When news broke about five men being arrested due to the incident, Taking the Initiative Pary stated that they were concerned police were using people in the community as “scapegoats” for the Johnson shooting.
“Arresting these individuals on this basis and highlighting that they were carrying drugs with intent to supply, is subliminally suggesting that this is a gang-related crime as opposed to an attempt of murder,” it said.The TTIP concluded that although they “want to see the attackers brought to justice, we do not want potentially innocent people charged with attempted murder and becoming part of the statistics, subjects to the injustices that Sasha has been fighting against.”
Johnson remains in critical condition, which the Taking the Initiative Party continues to update everyone regularly about her condition.