An arms dealer triggered a backlash after he called on members of right-wing groups to protest against a Black Lives Matter art installation in a post containing a picture of a black student organizer.
Earlier this month in Dublin, California, City Council approved a motion by Tri-Valley for Black Lives to bring its “Sign Garden for Justice” to the city.
Denel McMahan, a 17-year-old who is president of the Black Student Union at Dublin High School, is one of the organizers of the event planned for Sunday.
McMahan told ABC7 that he felt threatened after Mike Grant, the owner of a gun store formerly based in Dublin, posted a picture of him on Facebook and asked a number of right-wing groups to “bring your vests and helmets in case these BLM people get in trouble”.
“This is an emergency call,” Grant wrote in the Saturday Post. “They are planning a protest on Sunday, November 15, so that the patriots can come and get your friends and greet them with a little smile.
He added: “Oath helpers, 3%, members of the NRA and the Second Amendment are gathering in Dublin City Hall parking lot on Sunday morning to get ready for some fun time. The Oath Keepers please bring their vests and helmets in case these BLM people get into trouble. Remember that this group is known as a ‘left-wing’ anti-government group”.
The post has now been dismantled, but screenshots were distributed through social media.
In a post on Facebook, Tri-Valley for Black Lives accused Grant of threatening a minor and said that he had “called on his comrades-in-arms and gun owners to come armed to our last peaceful sign garden event to intimidate them and possibly cause violence.
The Post urged people to attend the event, adding, “Come and be part of the movement for black life. We must show our community that we will not and will not tolerate this kind of hatred and threats.
McMahan told ABC7 that he was “very shocked” by the post and this prompted his father to call Grant.
Grant told the local media that he had been receiving death threats since he wrote the Post and said the backlash had taught him a lesson. “This made me aware of the fact that what I’ve been going through in the last few days, people with colored skin have been going through their whole lives,” Grant told CBS SF.
He added to ABC7: “I never thought a 17-year-old boy could teach a 65-year-old man anything, but he did… Now I think I understand why this young man is doing this to try to educate people.
Some on the social networking sites accused Grant of targeting black students, but he insisted that this was not his intention and said his post was “never a formal threat. He also said he wrongly considered the event a protest.
“Do not, I repeat, do not go and protest and do not go to this event to stir up hatred or cause a problem,” he added.
Tri-Valley for Black Lives and Grant were contacted for additional comments.
Shawn Kumagai, a member of Dublin City Council, was accused in Grant’s post of “letting the thugs [Black Lives Matter] put up signs promoting their agenda”. He told CBS SF that Dublin police are working with Tri-Valley for Black Lives to ensure that the event is held safely.
The Mayor of the City, David Haubert, is the official curator of the event, which the City Council described as a “temporary public art installation curated by the City in honour of the community’s struggle for racial equality and justice”.
He said the city takes threats “very seriously” and asked that “adequate resources be made available to ensure the safety of the public.
Dublin police, Kumagai and Haubert were contacted for additional comments….