Woman Sentenced for Hate Speech in the UK

Chelsea Russel, 19, a woman from Liverpool posted rap lyrics on Instagram to pay tribute to Frankie Murphy. Frankie, 13, was a Liverpool boy who died after he was hit by a car on 24 October 2016 while riding a bike in the Page Moss area. Mrs. Russel argued the words were common in rap but a district judge said they had “no place in civil society” and found her guilty of sending an offensive message.

Song and Lyrics

The lyrics Mrs. Russel posted are said to have come from a song by US rap artist Snap Dogg. They include ‘kill a snitch n**** and rob a rich n****.’

Snap Dogg, US rap artistSong ‘I’m tripping’

Court Proceedings

Angela Conlan, prosecuting, told the court that the words were posted to the bio section of Russell’s Instagram account, and then reported to police last year.

The content was then passed to Police Constable (PC) Dominique Walker, who is based within a specialist police hate crime unit.

The court heard that Ms Walker was the sister of Anthony Walker, who was the victim of a notorious race hate murder on Merseyside.

(I feel sad seeing that Chelsea Russel seems to have succumbed to the consciousness of hate, when her brother Anthony Walker was killed by two people in the same hateful consciousness. She is about 12 years younger than her brother and was six years old when he was killed by two men with an ice axt. Their mother Gee Russel in 2021 received the Pride of Britain award for her work against racism in a foundation that was created after the racist murder of her son. Their seems to be a lot of conflict in the family!)

PC Walker told the court that she found the words on Russell’s Instagram account grossly offensive.

She 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 Carole Clarke, defending, not to use the word n**** in the court because she found it so offensive.

Ms Clarke argued that the meaning of the ‘n’ word had changed over time because it had been popularised by hugely successful and popular rap artists such as Jay-Z, Eminem and Kanye West.

She said: “Jay-Z used these words in front of thousands of people at the Glastonbury festival.”

Ms Clarke also pointed out that Russell had spelt the ‘n’ word ending in the letter a rather than er. She also quoted from the urban dictionary, which said that the word ending in the letter a meant a ‘black man wearing a gold chain.’

But PC Walker said that the ‘n word’ was always offensive, whether used by white or black people. She also said that it did not matter how the word was spelt.

Ms Clarke also told the court that Russell thought the words would only be seen by her Instagram followers.

But Ms Conlan said that Russell was a regular user of Instagram with over 100 followers and must have known how it worked.

Russell told the court that she copied the lyrics from a friend’s Instagram account, which were used by thousands of people to pay tribute to Frankie Murphy.

She said: “Young people across Liverpool use the word to greet each other. I listen to rap music and it’s in every single song.”

David James Rodway, who appeared as a defence witness, also said that the lyrics were used by young people all over Liverpool to pay tribute to Frankie Murphy on Instagram.

Constable Rob Jones told the court that the Snap Dogg lyrics were reported to him last August. PC Jones told the court that Russell was invited to attend a voluntary interview at a police station.

PC Jones said that during the interview Russell accepted that she had posted the content to her Instagram account, but had argued that the lyrics were not offensive. He said that in his time with the force he had always understood the ‘n word’ to be racist and offensive.

The Verdict

Russell, who was charged with sending a grossly offensive message by means of a public electronic communications network, was found guilty following the trial.

District Judge Jack McGarva said:

“There is no place in civil society for language like that. Everyone with an Instagram account could view this content. The lyrics also encourage killing and robbing, so they are grossly offensive.”

He ordered Russell to comply with a curfew order restricting her movements between 8pm and 8am for 8 weeks. She was ordered to wear an electronic tag on her ankle during this period of time. Russell was also ordered to pay £500 toward costs and a £85 surcharge.

Content found on the Internet, Liverpool Echo – April 18, 2018