“All Lives Splatter” is the title of a meme that a Chelan County Emergency Management employee shared on the department’s Facebook page on Monday the 16th anniversary of 9/11 and three weeks after a vehicular murder took place at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. The image features an SUV running over three protesters and includes the text: “Nobody Cares About Your Protest.”
Brian Burnet / Chelan County Sheriff’s Office
According to Brian Burnett, sheriff of Chelan County, Wash., the “All Lives Splatter” meme, which mimics “Black Lives Matter,” was sent to an employee’s personal Facebook account and then the employee accidentally posted it to the Emergency Management page. The page is typically used to provide public safety information.
“Staff at the Chelan County Emergency Management feel terrible that this inappropriate and hurtful post made it onto the Facebook page,” Burnett said in a statement. “The posting was removed as soon as staff realized the error. Changes have already been made in procedure to assure nothing like this will occur in the future.
“This post does not reflect the views of the sheriff’s office and we trust the public will continue to follow us during emergency situations on our Chelan County Emergency Management Facebook page.”
According to a county document, Burnett heads the department:
“Chelan County has appointed the sheriff to head the Emergency Management Office and he in turn has appointed an assistant director. Cities within Chelan County have contracted with Chelan County for Emergency Management Services.”
The Yakima Herald obtained a screenshot of the post before it was deleted. A message with the posting said, “I don’t wish harm to anyone but protesters don’t belong in the road!” The meme originated from a Facebook page named “Libtards; ya gotta love ’em.”
The Libtards; ya gotta love ’em! Facebook page is active, but there is no information available regarding who runs the page. Monday’s “All Lives Splatter” post is no longer on the feed.
But a moderator posted the following message on Sept. 8 celebrating 50,000 Facebook likes:
Burnett has not identified the employee, nor mentioned if any disciplinary action would take place. Emergency Management shared Burnett’s post on their Facebook page. Posts usually share safety information on smoke conditions, for example, and evacuation levels during wildfires in Chelan County, which has more than 70,000 residents and is located about 100 miles east of Seattle.
A Facebook commenter said the employee should be fired. In response, Emergency Management, seemingly the employee who shared the post, replied that the meme was meant to be shared with a cousin:
Commenters also made a parallel between the meme and the act of domestic terrorism in Charlottesville that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer:
White supremacist groups, including neo-Nazis, held a “Unite the Right” protest in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. Heyer, 32, a paralegal who colleagues said was devoted to social justice, was killed when a white supremacist, James Fields, plowed his car into counter-protesters, also injuring 19 others. Fields, a 20-year-old Ohio man, has been charged with her murder.
“They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well guess what You just magnified her,” Heyer’s mother Susan Bro said during a memorial service on Aug. 16.
“They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well guess what You just magnified her,” Heather Heyer’s mother told attendees.
The “All Lives Splatter” meme reflects how the right to protest has come under fire. In April, Maina Kiai and David Kaye, U.N. experts on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression, warned a trend in proposed state bills to restrict the right to protest, including making it legal to run over protesters blocking traffic, is incompatible with international human rights. Kiai and Kaye said ending the right to peaceful protests infringes upon U.S. constitutional rights.
In January, North Dakota lawmakers introduced House Bill 1203, which states that unintentionally running over a person obstructing traffic can be lawful:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a driver of a motor vehicle who unintentionally causes injury or death to an individual obstructing vehicular traffic on a public road, street, or highway, is not guilty of an offense.”
Rep. Keith Kempenich (R-Bowman), a co-sponsor of the bill, admitted it was created in response to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in southern Morton County, according to the Bismarck Tribune. Native Americans led the protests.
“It’s shifting the burden of proof from the motor vehicle driver to the pedestrian,” Kempenich said.
The bill was voted down 40-51 by House lawmakers in February.