A Jacksonville, Florida double homicide that was committed in a Golden Corral Parking lot Sunday night during an armed robbery, is being framed as a retaliation crime by black shooters against white victims for a “Free Zimmerman” bumper sticker. The false narrative that the white boys were killed because their truck sported a “Free Zimmerman” bumper sticker is being pushed by a number of right-wing web sites including InfoWars, Top Conservative News, beforeitsnews, American Crisis, and the Daily Paul. The earliest mention of the false story appears to be from a forum on the white supremacist web site Stormfront. This of course begs the question as to whether the other conservative news sites are now taking their news stories directly from a Neo-Nazi propaganda mill like Stormfront?
Much like the bogus footage of supposed riots in Miami that turned out to be old coverage of hockey riots in Canada, the new narrative seeks desperately to find a case of monstrous black criminality versus white innocence to highlight, but alas unable to find one, the right-wing must again simply make something up and try to spread it as real.
Today in a press conference, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office put to rest the phony story about a gang of murderous black thugs killing two innocent white males over a “Free Zimmerman” bumper sticker. Although two young white men were indeed apparently murdered by an armed black suspect, with three accomplices, two black and one white, they were not murdered because of a bumper sticker but rather because they were drug dealers killed in a robbery plot to steal their drugs.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department released a photograph of the pickup the two victims drove to the Golden Corral parking lot and it had no bumper sticker attached to it. While Paul Joseph Watson at InfoWars alleges a police cover-up, it is not apparent that “Free Zimmerman” bumper stickers even exist. A google search and a google image search both come up empty. Also, since Zimmerman was free on bond while awaiting trial, such a bumper sticker does not even make much sense. Free him from what? The travel restrictions imposed upon him while he awaited trial?
As the Sheriff’s Department spokesman described the ongoing investigation, he reported that four suspects are being held each on suspicion of two counts of murder and two counts of armed robbery. Three of the suspects are black and one is white. One of the suspects, Avery Wood, had arranged a drug deal with one of the victims, Matthew Bohannon. The four suspects apparently planned to rob the Bohannon brothers of their drugs rather than paying for them. Jalil Graves shot each of the boys and stole their marijuana, then the four individuals fled the scene. In addition, the police found substantial quantities of marijuana in Andrew Bohannon’s home.
While nobody deserved to be shot and killed, right wing attempts to portray this incident as a case of ruthless black thugs murdering innocent white choir boys whose only crime was a pro-George Zimmerman bumper sticker, are patently false. A bi-racial team of robbers murdered two white drug dealers in an attempt to get their drugs for free. A hideous crime to be sure, but a racially motivated execution over the Zimmerman case it was not. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office should be commended for quickly apprehending all four suspects and for immediately dismissing vicious rumors spread by white supremacists and their right-wing and libertarian enablers at InfoWars, beforeitsnews and the Daily Paul. When people are so blinded by their racist ideology that they do not even bother to fact check, they deserve nothing but public scorn for trying to fan the flames of racial animosity by spreading their steady torrent of blatant lies.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.