Daily Egyptian

Video suggests physical retaliation against violence at May 2 protests

By Tyler Davis, @TDavis_DE

A video on Twitter that shows a man holding guns and threatening to retaliate against violent protests May 2 is being investigated by police.

The 30-second video posted by @058_powermoves about 3 p.m. Tuesday shows an unknown male threatening to retaliate against any white students who act violently May 2. A caption with the video said the message goes out to students who plan on “purging” and harming black students May 2.

MORE: Deans to host listening sessions to prepare for May 2

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The video, which was retweeted nearly 400 times, comes just days after a YouTube video encouraged white students at SIU to beat and lynch black students May 2. Both videos have since been removed. 

“I wish a m—– f—– would slide on me talking about they’re gonna hurt me May 2,” the male in the Twitter video said. “I’ll blow your s— back.”

In a conversation via direct message on Twitter, the account holder, who did not give his name, said the guns in the video are fake and he has no plans to commit violence. 

“I’m not a killer so I don’t care,” he said when asked about students being afraid after seeing the video. “I’m not attacking no one, I’m not racist.”

The account holder said the video was taken in Chicago and when asked if he was an SIU student, he simply replied “First amendment.”

May 2 was originally the date of protests against student loan debt and administrators’ “lavish salaries.” A supporter of the May 2 Strike Committee, which organized a strike against normal campus procedures that day, posted a YouTube video using footage from Disney’s “A Bug’s Life” encouraging students to join in the strike.

YouTube account “ATO AZO” then used the same “A Bug’s Life” footage and dubbed it over with racist speech advocating the beating and killing of black students.

“Bring your bats and leave your wallets,” an anonymous voice said in the video after claiming it was made by the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity on campus.

MORE: Student, faculty work eradicate racism after lynch video surfaces

Nolan McConnell, the president of SIU’s ATO, said no one in his organization made the video and denied any racism on the part of his members.

However, a Facebook live video posted earlier this month by Leilani Bartlett, an SIU freshman, accused ATO members of racist speech in Brown Hall, where she lives. 

MORE: GPSC vows to fight on-campus racism

Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell said the university was investigating the circumstances surrounding Bartlett’s video as well as the origins of the “ATO AZO” video

SIU Police Chief Ben Newman said via Twitter his department is aware of the Twitter video and investigating with the help of Carbondale police. 

This story will be updated as more information becomes available. 

Tyler Davis can be reached at 618-536-3397 or at [email protected]

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