Anthony Beckford, leader of Black Lives Matter Brooklyn, has grown accustomed over the years to receiving threats from people who want to silence his calls for racial justice.
However, a line was crossed when he received messages in June on social media threatening to lynch him – including a photo of a Black man getting tortured.
“When you do this kind of work, you get used to it. Now, they are so blatant and blunt with it. There’s no accountability,” Beckford told BK Reader on Wednesday.
Beckford, who is a candidate for City Council in Flatbush, said this extreme racist venom against him came in response to his social media post on June 22 calling for the firing of a White cop in Queens who was caught on video using an illegal chokehold on a Black man.
In his Twitter post, Beckford wrote that Officer David Afanador performed “an Illegal modern day lynching chokehold on a Black Man until he was unconscious,” adding, “I demand his immediate firing & criminal charges for breaking the city & state ban. #DefundThePolice.”
Beckford said he received several racist replies. One of them stated, “Lynching? Are you kidding me. Somebody should legitimately lynch your dumba**, then let’s if you can compare a wrestling hold with being HUNG FROM A TREE. …”
The BLM Brooklyn leader said he left the hate message on social media to alert the community to the direct threats against him.
“But then I started to think, I needed to highlight this stuff,” he recalled. “I wanted people to see and understand that while we’re out here demanding justice that we’re the ones being threatened with even more violence.”
Beckford said he doesn’t know who is behind the social media handles, like “Clown Commander” or Alan Scott, that sent the messages. He reported the incidents to the New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office but did not receive an immediate response.
“I couldn’t do some of the things that White supremacists are getting away with,” he noted.
With the “sudden mysterious suicides by lynching of Black men,” Beckford stated that he must take the threats seriously. “I must remain vigilant and protect myself, by any means necessary,” he added.
Beckford, a disabled U.S. Marine Corps veteran, however, is not easily intimidated.
“I will not allow these threats to slow down my work for the people and I will not allow it to stop me from holding NYPD officers and corrupt politicians accountable,” Beckford stated. “I will continue on my mission to smash the foundation of systemic racism and injustice and to bring empowerment to our community.”
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