Folks took to Twitter on Wednesday to demand equal media attention for a group of Black children as white students received after they were accused recently of mocking a Native American man.
In a video that has gone viral, a gunman yelled racial slurs at the Black children on Martin Luther King Jr.’s national holiday.
The video begins with the boys on bicycles arguing with a woman on the Brickell Avenue Bridge in Miami. In the heated confrontation, the woman in the video claimed one of the boys ran over her foot with his bike.
Her boyfriend, identified as 51-year-old Mark Alan Bartlett then approached the children holding a gun in his hand. “F***ing stupid ni**ers,” he’s heard saying on the video. He was later arrested and charged with carrying a concealed firearm.
WFOR-TV reported that the boys were participating in a protest called “Bikes Up, Guns Down” in which they were blocking traffic on the bridge.
The video doesn’t show what caused the argument. Unlike the white students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky who were wearing Trump MAGA caps, the Black children didn’t receive an invitation to the White House or from a network morning TV show to explain what happened.
Since the video footage of the Covington students went viral, the white students have been criticized for their actions but also have gotten an overwhelming amount of support. In the last 24 hours, Nick Sandmann, the student at the center of the controversy, has had the benefit of a statement being released by a PR firm, a tweet of endorsement from the president of the United States, in addition to a TV sitdown interview. The media has repeatedly referred to him and his classmates as children.
Here’s the video of the encounter involving the Black students that has circulated on social media.
Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt identified one of the African-American boys as Tay, a sixth-grader, who was participating in the MLK Day protest. “His mom fights like hell to keep him safe from gun violence,” Merritt tweeted.
Merrit has called for hate crime charges against Bartlett.
“There will be accountability. #MarkBarlett was arrested and released for less than $500. He bonded out on a concealed weapons charge. That’s not going to be enough. State Prosecutor @KathyFndzRundle we are going to need some additional charges including hate crime enhancements,” the lawyer stated.
Here’s how political commentator and journalism professor Jason Johnson reacted.
Here’s a sample of other Twitter reactions.