#BlackTwitter serves as cultural identity for community


Jalise Burt, of Brooklyn, takes part in a rally in New York on Saturday, July 18, 2015. Several hundred people rallied outside the federal courthouse in Brooklyn to demand action in the fatal chokehold death of Eric Garner by a white police officer. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

#BlackTwitter is a virtual community that has developed within the Twitter social network. The focus of this online community is to give internet users a platform to openly discuss social and political issues of interest to the black community.

#BlackTwitter has been especially prominent in discussions surrounding police brutality. CCTV America’s digital team compiled videos that have surfaced regarding police brutality that have sparked online debate among #BlackTwitter users.

Sandra Bland

A dash cam video caught the Texas traffic stop and arrest of Sandra Bland. She was pulled over for failing to signal a lane change and the interaction with the officer escalated. Bland was later arrested for assaulting an officer. The incident occurred July 10, 2015 as Bland was returning from a trip to Chicago. She was found dead in a Waller County jail cell in Texas on July 13. Her death is under investigation.

Walter Scott

On April 4, 2015, Walter Scott was fatally shot in the back while fleeing North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager.  Scott was stopped for a non-functioning brake light. Scott’s family believes that he ran because of outstanding child-support obligations that he feared would lead to his arrest. Slager was later indicted with Scott’s murder. This is a video of the shooting.

Eric Garner

Eric Garner died on Staten Island in New York City on July 17, 2014. Originally approached by police for selling loose cigarettes, Garner was unarmed when an arresting police officer put him in a chokehold. New York City reached a settlement with Garner’s family, agreeing to pay $5.9 million to resolve a wrongful-death claim over his killing by the police. This is the video of the chokehold.

Marlene Pinnock

California Highway Police Officer Daniel L. Andrew resigned after he was caught on video straddling and repeatedly punching 51- year-old Marlene Pinnock on the side of a Los Angeles freeway in July 2014. Pinnock, who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was in the way of oncoming traffic when Andrew pulled her from the highway and the altercation occurred. Pinnock reached a $1.5 million settlement with the law enforcement agency.

Trayvon Martin

Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman while walking in a neighborhood in Sanford, Florida in 2012. Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder and taken into custody. When the charges against Zimmerman were announced on April 11, 2012 this is what the Twitter feed of #trayvon looked like. Tweets were nonstop for hours.

#BlackTwitter has been used as a platform for people to express their feelings regarding these incidents.