Victoria Jones / AP
LONDON (Reuters) – The activist who played a leading role in anti-racism protests in Britain was in critical condition in a London hospital on Monday after being shot.
The party taking the initiative said Sasha Johnson, who played a leading role in the Black Lives Matter protests last year, was shot in the head on Sunday. Police and a friend of hers said it did not appear to be a targeted attack, although the party said Johnson had received “numerous death threats” related to her activism.
The party said Johnson was “a powerful and powerful voice for our people and our community”.
Metropolitan Police said officers had called in reports of gunfire in the Peckham area of the city shortly before 3 am Sunday. Police said the shooting took place near a house where a party was being held.
The police statement said that a 27-year-old woman was in critical condition after being shot. She did not specify her identity, but said, “There is no indication that it was a targeted attack or that the woman had received any credible threats against her prior to this incident.”
Investigators have appealed the witnesses and have not made any arrests.
A friend of mine, Emran Ayton, said she did not believe Johnson was the intended target.
She told the BBC: “As far as we know, she was at a party.” “There was a rival gang who might have heard of someone who was at that party and they didn’t feel comfortable or confident in them, so they resorted to driving past and shooting in the park, and apparently one of those shots hit Sasha Johnson.
“But I don’t think she was the intended victim.”
Like other countries, Britain has faced uncomfortable accountability with race since George Floyd, a black American, died on the knee of an American cop in May 2020, sparking anti-racism protests around the world.
Large crowds at the Black Lives Matter protests across the UK called on the government and institutions to confront the legacy of the British Empire and the country’s massive profits from the slave trade. Johnson was a speaker at the summer rallies last summer and is the leader of the newly formed Black-led Take the Initiative.