A model and Black Lives Matter supporter warned in a now-deleted social media post that cities will be “on fire” if former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin is not convicted and sentenced.
The post was uploaded to Maya Echols’ TikTok account before it was taken down but was re-uploaded on other social media platforms by other users.
In the video, it appears to show Echols saying, “If George Floyd’s murderer is not sentenced, just know that all hell is gonna break loose. Don’t be surprised when buildings are on fire. Just saying.”
Chauvin is on trial on charges related to Floyd’s death last May. After video footage that showed Chauvin restraining Floyd went viral on social media, mass protests and violent riots ensued in a number of U.S. cities. Minneapolis was among the hardest-hit cities, with hundreds of millions of dollars in damages being done by rioters.
NEW – Maya Echols, a prominent Black Lives Matter activist, threatened that cities will be “on fire” if Derek Chauvin is not convicted for the death of George Floyd.pic.twitter.com/r4xk3kuVW2
— Disclose.tv 🚨 (@disclosetv) April 6, 2021
Echols has posted videos of herself wearing Black Lives Matter apparel and has voiced support for the group in the past. According to reports, Echols is signed to IMG Worldwide as a model, and she has over 400,000 followers on TikTok.
During the summer demonstrations and riots last year, several prominent Black Lives Matter activists appeared to endorse violence, arson, and looting.
Ashley Gantt, a Black Lives Matter leader in Rochester, New York, told a crowd last year: “If there was looting, if there was things on fire, that is not what is important. What is important is why these things happen.”
“I am just tired of you guys not putting the correct narrative out there,” she said. “I don’t care if the whole city burned down. We need justice.”
Later, Gantt said that she doesn’t really want people to set the city on fire but instead wants “sustainable change, sometimes we have to do whatever it takes to get it.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Minneapolis Police Lt. Johnny Mercil told a court during Chauvin’s trial officers are taught to restrain combative suspects with a knee on their back or shoulders if necessary but are told to “stay away from the neck when possible.”
And continuing to kneel on Floyd’s neck once he was handcuffed behind his back and lying on his stomach was “in no way, shape or form” part of department policy or training, “and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values,” Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said on Day Six of Chauvin’s murder trial.
Chauvin’s lawyer, however, questioned Arradondo about separate video footage that appeared to show Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s shoulder, not his neck. Arradondo said that he agreed his knee was on his neck, but prosecutors said that the clip was only a few seconds of the incident.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.