Jeffery Shaun King|
September 17, 1979
Franklin County, Kentucky, U.S.
|Alma mater||Morehouse College|
|Movement||Black Lives Matter|
Jeffery Shaun King (born September 17, 1979) is an American writer and civil rights activist. He is noted for his use of social media to promote religious, charitable, and social causes, including the Black Lives Matter movement. He is a columnist for the Intercept. Previously, he was a contributing writer for Daily Kos and a political commentator for The Young Turks. He co-founded the Real Justice PAC in February 2018, which supports progressive candidates running for district attorney offices in 2018.
King grew up in Versailles, Kentucky. He was raised by his white mother and white adoptive father, Jeffrey King. King grew up believing what she later confirmed to him: that his biological father was a light-skinned black man. According to a local police detective, those who knew him were aware of his biracial heritage: "Anyone from around here who knew him knew he was mixed." King attended Huntertown Elementary School and Woodford County High School.
King attended Morehouse College, a private, historically black men's college in Atlanta, Georgia, where he majored in history. Midway through his education, he had to take a medical leave. Upon his return, he was named an Oprah Winfrey Scholar by Morehouse. Oprah scholars are given financial support and are required to maintain their grade point average and do community service. King fulfilled his community service requirement by tutoring and mentoring students at Franklin Lebby Stanton Elementary School in Atlanta. After graduation in 2002, King was a research assistant for Morehouse history professor Alton Hornsby Jr.
After graduation, King was a high school civics teacher for about a year and then became a motivational speaker for Atlanta's juvenile justice system. He was then a pastor at Total Grace Christian Center in DeKalb County, Georgia. In 2008, King founded a church in Atlanta called "Courageous Church". He made use of social media to recruit new members and was known as the "Facebook Pastor".
In March 2010, while still a pastor, he founded aHomeinHaiti.org as a subsidiary of Courageous Church and used eBay and Twitter to raise $1.5 million to send tents to Haiti after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria was a spokesperson for the campaign. This inspired him to launch TwitChange.com, a charity auction site. TwitChange held Twitter charity auctions on eBay where celebrities offered to retweet winning bidders' tweets in exchange for support of a particular charity. One campaign raised funds to build an orphanage in Bonneau, Haiti. In 2010, TwitChange won the Mashable Award for "Most Creative Social Good Campaign".
In 2012, King resigned from the Courageous Church, citing personal stress and disillusionment. That same year he and web designer Chad Kellough founded HopeMob.org, a charity site that used voting to select a particular person's story and then raise money for that story until its goal was met. The money went to an organization which provided for the person's needs, not to the person individually. After one goal was met, the next story in line would then get funds raised. HopeMob initially raised funds to build their platform in January 2012 on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. Their campaign raised about $125,000.
In 2014, he and two co-inventors, Ray Lee and Vincent Tuscano, were awarded U.S. patent 8,667,075, "System and method for implementing a subscription-based social media platform". This patent was filed by the startup he founded, @Upfront.
On October 2, 2015, the New York Daily News announced that it was hiring King to the new position of senior justice writer, where he would focus on reporting and commentary on social justice, police brutality and race relations. He left the Daily News in August 2017.
King has written extensively about incidents in the Black Lives Matter movement, gaining prominence during the events following the shooting of Michael Brown. King wrote an article analyzing the Brown crime scene, and argued that the evidence suggested that officer Darren Wilson's life was not in danger during the shooting.
King became a contributing blogger for the politically liberal website the Daily Kos in September 2014. His contributions to the website have focused on civil rights, violence in Ferguson, Missouri, and Charleston, South Carolina, as well as allegations of police brutality, especially toward the black community. In August 2015, he launched Justice Together, an organization to identify police brutality and lobby local politicians for change. To the surprise of many of the group's members, King unilaterally disbanded the organization in the fall of 2016. 
In an October 11, 2017 article in The Washington Post, Shaun King was credited with leading a successful months-long and far-reaching social media campaign which led to the identification and arrest of three of the men behind the August 12, 2017 assault on DeAndre Harris during the Unite the Right rally. 18-year-old Daniel P. Borden from Mason, Ohio; 33-year-old Alex Michael Ramos of Marietta, Georgia; and 22-year-old Jacob Scott Goodwin from Ward, Arkansas, were arrested for the parking garage beating. The Washington Post described how the attack on Harris became a "symbol of the violence and racial enmity that engulfed Charlottesville when white supremacists, Klan members and neo-Nazis clashed with counterprotesters." Two were subsequently convicted while two others are awaiting trial.
Harris was later served with an arrest warrant sought by 48-year-old Harold Crews, North Carolina's League of the South chairman and a real estate lawyer, who alleged that Harris had hit him with a flashlight during an altercation prior to the Market Street Garage brawl. Crews used a law by which alleged crime victims who have filed a police report can get a warrant if they can convince a local judge to sign it. In the interview with the Washington Post, King responded, "I am disgusted that the justice system bent over backwards to issue a warrant for one of the primary victims of that day, when I and others had to fight like hell to get that same justice system to prosecute people who were vicious in their attacks against Harris and others. Now, we're seeing white supremacists celebrate on social media, bragging about Harris's arrest. They're hailing this as a victory." Harris was later acquitted of misdemeanor assault by a local judge.
On May 20, 2018 King accused a white Texas state trooper of raping Sherita Dixon-Cole, an African-American human resources professional. The trooper arrested Dixon-Cole for drunk driving and King based his accusation off of statements she and her family made to King and Philadelphia lawyer S. Lee Merritt. King's social media posts, which identified the trooper by name, went viral and threats were made against the arresting trooper as well as another trooper with the same last name. The Texas Department of Public Safety released nearly two hours of body cam footage on May 22 that exonerated the trooper. Merritt subsequently apologized for the false accusation and national attention he had brought to the case. King deleted his social media posts after the body cam video was released.
Tamir Rice fundraising
King has raised money for multiple causes including the Tamir Rice shooting, and various incidents where the Black Lives Matter movement has been involved. Through the fund-raising website, YouCaring.com, King raised $60,000 for Rice's family. Rice, a 12-year-old resident of Cleveland, Ohio, was killed in 2014 by two Cleveland city policemen after they responded to a complaint "of a male black sitting on a swing and pointing a gun at people."
After learning the child had not been buried as of five months after the shooting, and the child's mother had moved into a homeless shelter, he started the fund to assist the Rice family; however, family attorney Timothy Kucharski stated in May 2015 that neither he nor the Rice family had heard of King or the fundraiser, nor had they received any money. The money raised was then seized by the court and placed into Tamir Rice's estate instead of being freely available to the family. King and the Rice family's new legal counsel, Benjamin Crump, then started a second charity drive with the proceeds going directly to the family. An additional $25,000 was raised.
He is married with five children. Three of his children are biological with his wife and two are by custody and adoption. He has had foster children, nieces and nephews stay with him. He has written extensively about his experiences as a biracial person.
High school assault
One of his experiences in high school was what he considered a hate crime assault. King stated a "dozen rednecks" had beaten him and the injuries caused him to miss a portion of two years of high school due to multiple spinal surgeries. A band teacher, two fellow students from King's high school, as well as King's wife, posted their recollection of the event to Facebook, backing King's account.
The detective who investigated the case in 1995 described King's injuries as "minor". The associated police report noted that the incident revolved around a fight involving only one other student who defended his girlfriend after being allegedly threatened by King. The report did not indicate the incident was racially motivated. There is no mention of a "hate crime" either with local police or with the FBI. Keith Broughton, the investigating detective, said he interviewed six witnesses put forth by the school's principal, including a teacher who broke up the fight. All of them described it as a one-on-one altercation.
Questions regarding race
In August 2015, Milo Yiannopoulos questioned King's biracial identity in an article for Breitbart. He cited two pieces of evidence. First, King's birth certificate, which lists Naomi Fleming and Jeffrey Wayne King (both of whom are white) as King's parents. Second, a police report that cited King's race as "white."
Regarding the first piece of evidence, King said that the man listed on his birth certificate is his adoptive, not biological father, and that his mother has told him his biological father is a light-skinned black man. In various interviews with King's family and classmates conducted by the mainstream media, they stated that they understood King to be biracial growing up.
Regarding the second piece of evidence, the police officer who listed King's race as "white" was interviewed by the Independent Journal Review following Yiannopoulos's article for Breitbart. The officer recalled the case and stated that he believed King to be biracial, and that everyone who knew King knew he was mixed. He went on to state that he had only listed King as white because he is light-skinned, and biracial was not an option on his form. King and his supporters expressed concern that such questions were an attempt to distract from the Black Lives Matter movement.
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