According to The Daily Caller, the conflict stems from concerns from volunteers this week about the lack of transparency and finances of the organization, which King named Justice Together. Taking to Facebook, the New York Daily News columnist responded to inquiries from volunteers on Friday (Nov. 6) saying that Justice Together will under go what he labeled as a “course correction.”
Launched in August, King’s goal with Justice Together involved addressing police brutality with the creation of policies in all 50 status. Despite this, King announced that the organization has fallen back on its objective with operating just one chapter in Georgia rather than setting up chapters in every state.
Adding to the situation is the decision of King’s fellow Black Lives Matter activist, DeRay McKesson, to leaving his position on Justice Together’s board of directors. The following are tweets from McKesson announcing his exit from the board as well as his intent to “understand more about the decisions and the q’s being raised” regarding the group:
Last Monday, I had a good conversation w/ @ShaunKing as I stepped down from the board of Justice Together, to focus my energy & time. — deray mckesson (@deray) November 8, 2015
I, too, learned about the end of Justice Together via email. & I’m working to understand more about the decisions and the q’s being raised. — deray mckesson (@deray) November 8, 2015
McKesson’s departure from the board comes as King details why Justice Together failed to launch. According to him, the failure can be attributed to the difficulty in verifying the identities of volunteers.
“Many people were not who they claimed to be,” King wrote. “Many people refused to provide any identity verification. Many people refused to take necessary steps and, quality control, of trying to start chapters in 50 states and 300 college campuses, became damn near impossible – particularly as we struggled to even tell if some people were real or sincere.”
Countering King’s explanation, the Caller cited a field director who mentioned that Justice Together’s website required volunteers to verify their identities from three web formats. The site goes on to note that King’s work on Justice Together has raised many other complaints from volunteers, who voiced that the activist failed to meet self-imposed deadlines, ignored volunteers who asked for updates on Justice Together and for transparency into its finances.
In addition, King suddenly closed down the real-time messaging system used by Justice Together volunteers, the Caller reports.
I can no longer defend someone who lacks personal integrity and refuses to be accountable to the ppl in his coalitions. #ShaunKingLetMeDown — Crystal (@cjmperspectives) November 7, 2015
(6) We received no direction, no assessments, and no call to action for our respective states from the Executive Director, @ShaunKing— Crystal (@cjmperspectives) November 7, 2015
(8) This past week, we asked for an accounting of the funds raised for #JusticeTogether and how the funds were being spent.— Crystal (@cjmperspectives) November 7, 2015
(9) King became defensive by our demand, telling us that we were listening to trolls if we believed he would mismanage / misuse funds— Crystal (@cjmperspectives) November 7, 2015
On Sunday (Nov. 8), King took to Facebook again to speak on claims mishandled Justice Together donations.
“Folk stating that I am profiteering off of this movement are not just misinformed, they are lying,” he wrote while stating that the group has only raised $9,000 online from 88 donors.
“We’ve raised $575 this month – which hardly covers our MailChimp account,” he wrote, adding that Justice Together will file its taxes next year.
Like the field director, Rachel McShane aired her opinion of King on social media with pointing out that his handling of Justice Together shares similarities to his work with other groups. In a series of tweets, the professor and activist, who now works with the Coalition Against Police Violence, brought up JTA, another group that she says King refused to discuss receiving donations for.
@DarrellGadson basically what I know is that both times, SK raised money and was very tight lipped about where funds went. Group leaders (1)— Rachel McShane (@McshaneRachel) November 9, 2015
@DarrellGadson got blocked and called trolls if they dared ask questions about the money. (2)— Rachel McShane (@McshaneRachel) November 9, 2015
@DarrellGadson like I said, nobody was allowed to ask about the money we had all been contributing. He also never helped plan anything.— Rachel McShane (@McshaneRachel) November 9, 2015
The bottom line is that Shaun King has a messy situation on his hands.