Chelsea Russell, 19, from Liverpool, U.K., posted a lyric from Snap Dogg’s “I’m Trippin’” on her Instagram account . The lyric contained the word “nigga,” but she says the post was meant to pay tribute to a boy who had died in a road crash in 2017.
The lyrics she faced charges over were “kill a snitch nigga and rob a rich nigga.”
Though Russell argued it was not offensive, she was handed a community order as prosecutors said “it was a hate crime.” Her sentence had originally been a fine, but was increased. Russell’s defense argued that the magic word had been used by Jay-Z “in front of thousands of people at the Glastonbury Festival”–to no avail.
Hate crime unit PC Dominque Walker told the Liverpool Justice Centre, sitting at Sefton Magistrates’ Court, that the racial term used was “grossly offensive” to the general community and to her as a black woman. PC Walker 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 the defense to not use the ‘word’ in court as she found it too offensive.
Russell had been charged after the Merseyside Police were sent a screenshot of her post by an anonymous left-wing activist.
Incredibly, though Russell’s defense argued that her profile “wasn’t public,” prosecutor Angela Conlan rebutted that anyone could access her profile and “see the offensive language.” The prosecutor further argued that “posting the profile on her account constituted sending it and making it public.” Though Russell thought the words would only be seen by her Instagram followers, Conlan said that as Russell used Instagram regularly and had over 100 followers she must “have known how it worked.”
Russell has been found guilty of “sending a grossly offensive message by a public communication” and has been given an eight-week community order, placed on an eight-week curfew, and has been told to pay costs of £500 and an £85 victim surcharge. Russell has also been ordered to wear an electronic tag on her ankle during this time period.
British people have never fought for, nor been granted, basic human rights like freedom of speech. Similar convictions are expected to continue.