Cori Bush raises eyebrows with claim of being shot at by White supremacists, police chief unaware of evidence

Bush made the claim while commenting on the Kyle Rittenhouse trial

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Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., sparked a backlash Monday after she claimed in a tweet that she and fellow protesters were fired upon by White supremacists during the racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, several years ago.

Bush was commenting on the ongoing murder trial of 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who faces life in prison for shooting three men, two of them fatally, during the 2020 riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Jury deliberations were underway Tuesday as Kenosha businesses braced for potential riots following the verdict.

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Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) speaks to reporters as she leaves a meeting with Progressive House Democrats at the U.S. Capitol on Capitol Hill Oct. 28, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) speaks to reporters as she leaves a meeting with Progressive House Democrats at the U.S. Capitol on Capitol Hill Oct. 28, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

"When we marched in Ferguson, white supremacists would hide behind a hill near where Michael Brown Jr. was murdered and shoot at us," Bush tweeted Monday afternoon. "They never faced consequences." 

"If Kyle Rittenhouse gets acquitted, it tells them that even seven years later they still can get away with it," she wrote.

Bush was characterizing Rittenhouse as a White supremacist even though there is no evidence linking him to White supremacist groups or ideologies.

Bush’s claim that Brown was murdered is also false, as the Justice Department concluded in 2015 that former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot Brown in self-defense.

The backlash against Bush over the tweet was swift.

Ferguson Police Chief Frank McCall Jr., who became chief in July and was previously chief of the nearby Berkeley Police Department, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday that he didn’t know of any record of such an incident described by Bush.

"Not that I’m aware of," he said, adding he wasn’t aware of any incidents that the tweet might be referencing.

Skeptics poured cold water on the Bush’s claim by circulating articles on social media about the 2015 conviction of Jeffrey Williams, a Black man who was found guilty of shooting and wounding two police officers during a Ferguson protest in front of the police station on March 12, 2015. Witnesses said at the time that they believed the shots originated from the top of a hill about 220 yards directly opposite the station.

When asked for clarification, Bush’s campaign issued a statement Monday night doubling down on her comments.

"While on the frontlines of the Ferguson Uprising, Congresswoman Bush and other activists were shot at by white supremacist vigilantes," the campaign told the Post-Dispatch. "The question we need to ask is why white supremacists feel empowered to open-carry rifles, incite violence, and put Black lives at risk across our country."

Congressional Progressive Caucus members Rep. Cori Bush, D-Ga., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., talk to reporters before a vote to keep the federal government open until early December outside the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 30, 2021 in Washington, D.C.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Congressional Progressive Caucus members Rep. Cori Bush, D-Ga., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., talk to reporters before a vote to keep the federal government open until early December outside the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 30, 2021 in Washington, D.C.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Ohun Ashe, a local activist, also voiced support for Bush’s tweet.

"I vividly remember hiding under porches in Canfield as shots were fired at us," Ashe tweeted. "No one came to help us. Ferguson police would be nearby. We would come from under porches using cars as shields in between gun shots to make it out."