U.K. Woman Guilty of Hate Crime for Posting Rap Lyric on Instagram

A woman has astoundingly been convicted of being “grossly offensive” over a lyric on an Instagram tribute post.

Chelsea Russell, 19, from Liverpool, U.K., posted a lyric from Snap Dogg’s “I’m Trippin’” on Instagram. The lyric contained racist language, but the post was meant to pay tribute to a boy who had died in a road crash in 2017.

The lyrics were “kill a snitch n**** and rob a rich n****”.

Though Russell argued it was not offensive, she was handed a community order as “it was a hate crime” according to prosecutors. Her sentence had originally been a fine, yet was increased. Russell’s defense argued that the ‘word’ had been used by Jay-Z “in front of thousands of people at the Glastonbury Festival” to no avail.

Hate crime unit PC Dominque Walker told the Liverpool Justice Centre, sitting at Sefton Magistrates’ Court, that the racial term used was “grossly offensive” to the general community and to her as a black woman. PC Walker said “As a black woman I found the words offensive and upsetting. The words are offensive to both black and white people.” PC Walker also asked the defense to not use the ‘word’ in court as she found it too offensive.

Russell had been charged after the Merseyside Police were sent a screenshot of her post, anonymously.

Incredibly, though Russell’s defense argued that her profile “wasn’t public,” prosecutor Angela Conlan rebutted that anyone could access her profile and “see the offensive language.” The prosecutor further argued that “posting the profile on her account constituted sending it and making it public.” Though Russell thought the words would only be seen by her Instagram followers, Conlan said that as Russell used Instagram regularly and had over 100 followers she must “have known how it worked.”

Russell has been found guilty of “sending a grossly offensive message by a public communication” and has been given an eight-week community order, placed on an eight-week curfew, and has been told to pay costs of £500 and an £85 victim surcharge.  Russell has also been ordered to wear an electronic tag on her ankle during this time period.

All over a tribute to a boy who died. 

feature image: Snap Dogg, via YouTube

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