British Black Lives Matter activist critically wounded by shot in the head

A police investigation was underway in London on Monday after Sasha Johnson, a senior member of a small political party called Taking the Initiative was shot in the head in southeast London in the early hours of Sunday.


An activist who has played a leading role in anti-racism demonstrations in Britain was in critical condition in a London hospital Monday after being shot.

The Taking the Initiative Party led by Sasha Johnson, who played a leading role in Black Lives Matter protests last year, said that Johnson was shot in the head Sunday. Police and a friend said it did not appear to be a targeted attack, though the party said Johnson had received “numerous death threats” related to her activism.

The party said Johnson was “a strong, powerful voice for our people and our community.”


London’s Metropolitan Police said officers were called to reports of gunshots in South London’s Peckham neighborhood just before 3 a.m. Sunday. Police said the shooting occurred near a house where a party was taking place.

The police statement said a 27-year-old woman was in a hospital in critical condition after being shot. It did not identify her, but said “there is nothing to suggest it was a targeted attack or that the woman had received any credible threats against her before this incident.”

Detectives have appealed for witnesses and have not made any arrests.

Black Britons say that racism helped drive out the royal couple. Nigel Farage, a prominent voice in the Brexit debate, disagrees.

Feb. 11, 2020

A friend, Imarn Ayton, said she did not believe Johnson was the intended target.

“As far as we are aware, she was at a party,” she told the BBC. “There was a rival gang that may have heard about someone being in that party that they didn’t feel quite comfortable with or trusted and so they resorted to driving past and shooting into the garden, and one of those shots obviously hit Sasha Johnson.

“But I don’t believe she was the intended victim.”

Like other countries, Britain has faced an uncomfortable reckoning with race since the death of George Floyd, a Black man, a year ago Tuesday in Minneapolis at the hands of a white police officer. Floyd’s death sparked anti-racism protests around the world.


Large crowds at Black Lives Matter protests across the U.K. called on the government and institutions to face up to the legacy of the British Empire and the country’s extensive profits from the slave trade. Johnson was a speaker at rallies last summer and is a leader of the newly founded, Black-led Taking the Initiative Party.