Media Ignores White Girl Burned Alive By 17 Gang Members-Mostly Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Blog sites claim that the mainstream media and the White House ignored the murder of a white girl who was allegedly burned alive by 17 black gang members in a case of racial bias.
Claims that 17 gang members burned a white girl alive and that the media has ignored the story are both off base.
The rumors started with right-wing websites like Before Its News and Right Wing News reported on December 19, 2015. With headlines like, “17 Black Gang Banger Burned a White Girl Alive … Where Is Obama?” those websites tried to use the story of white teenager who was burned alive to prove that “White Life doesn’t mean @#%!” to President Obama and the mainstream media.
Those reports get a few key details wrong, however. For starters, the gang members weren’t arrested in connection with the teen’s murder, which is an important detail. But before we get into that, let’s take a look at the story’s background.
Nineteen-year-old Jessica Chambers was found burned to death in Courtland, Mississippi, just after 8 p.m. on December 6, 2014. Authorities say she had been doused in gasoline and set on fire while she sat in her car. Mainstream media outlets like CBS, FOX, NBC and CNN have covered the story extensively. The FBI has offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in Chambers’ murder and described the investigation as such:
Since the discovery of this brutal crime, multiple state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies have participated in a collaborative investigative effort to identify the person or persons responsible for Jessica’s death. Significant resources have been dedicated to this investigation, and additional rewards have been offered for information relevant to this case.
“We continue to solicit the public’s assistance in solving this heinous crime,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Donald Alway. “With the public’s help, we are confident that information will be uncovered which will lead to the arrest and successful prosecution of the individual or individuals who cruelly and brutally attacked and killed Jessica Chambers.”
Then, on December 18, 2015, news broke that 17 people had been arrested in an operation targeting suspected gang members called “Operation Bite Back.” FBI Panola County Sheriff Dennis Darby said that the arrests were “a byproduct” of Jessica Chambers’ death investigation — but the arrests were not directly related to Chambers’ death, the local paper reports:
Panola County Sheriff Dennis Darby said Tuesday’s arrests are not directly related to Chambers’ death but to information gathered as authorities have interviewed more than 150 people and sorted through more than 20,000 phone records trying to find her killer.
FBI spokesman Jason Pack said as the FBI assisted state and local investigators, suspected illegal activity came to light and resulted in the indictments and arrests Tuesday morning. The indictments in both the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi and Mississippi’s 17th Circuit Court District charge the 17 suspects on a variety of violations ranging from child endangerment, possession of stolen firearms, narcotics sales and felon in possession of a firearm to possession of counterfeit currency.
It’s not clear how Jessica Chambers’ death investigation led to such a large-scale gang bust, or if authorities suspected any of the gang members of taking part in her murder. So, reports that claim gang members murdered Jessica Chambers are false. And claims that Obama and the media have ignored those reports are false because the FBI hadn’t connected Chambers’ death to the alleged gang members.