Who is Sasha Johnson? BLM activist critical after shooting had helped organise protests

File video grab dated 30/08/2020 of activist Sasha Johnson speaking during the Million People March in London. The mother-of-three is in a critical condition in hospital after she was shot in the head during the early hours of Sunday. Issue date: Monday May 24, 2021.
Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson is in a critical condition in hospital after being shot in the head. (PA)

A Black Lives Matter activist is fighting for her life after being shot in the head.

Sasha Johnson, 27, is in a critical condition in hospital after the shooting in Peckham, south London, on Sunday morning.

She has been a prominent figure in the Black Lives Matter movement, which saw thousands of people take to the streets of the UK last summer following the death of George Floyd in the US.

Who is Sasha Johnson?

File photo dated 13/06/20 of activist Sasha Johnson (right) participating in a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Hyde Park, London. The mother-of-three is in a critical condition in hospital after she was shot in the head during the early hours of Sunday.
Sasha Johnson, right, participating in a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Hyde Park, London, last June. (PA)

The 27-year-old mother-of-two has a first-class degree in social care from Oxford Brookes University. Her activity in the movement has included organising protests and addressing crowds.

In an interview with Sky News in August, at the height of Black Lives Matter protests across the UK, Ms Johnson said: “We’ve come too far for racism to still be a problem.”

She said the UK needed to address the problem of racism and stop “disassociating” from it.

Watch: Sasha Johnson speaks out at protest in London

She is a member of the leadership committee of the Taking The Initiative Party (TTIP), which pledges to “provide a voice for the British people who want to change Britain for the better”.

What is her background in activism?

Ms Johnson works in community support.

Her page on the TTIP website says: “She has an immense passion for implementing change and justice and has been actively supporting the eradication of injustices in society by attending and leading protests.

“Although not everyone may agree with her methods, she is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in.

“She is also committed to feeding the homeless and has personally been involved in delivering food and groceries to families that are in need.”

The TTIP describes itself as a group of British businesspeople – some from working-class backgrounds – who feel politically homeless.

The party's website says: "We founded the Party to create meaningful politics that will inspire people to get out and vote.

"We believe that business has a positive part to play in community: through entrepreneurship, employment and empowerment."

What happened at the weekend?

The TTIP said Ms Johnson is in intensive care in hospital and in a critical condition after she sustained a gunshot wound to her head.

The party said the attack in Peckham on Sunday morning took place "following numerous death threats as a result of her activism".

Her friend Imarn Ayton told BBC News that Ms Johnson has successfully undergone surgery and her parents are with her in hospital.

She suggested Ms Johnson was not the intended target in the shooting.

Ms Ayton said: “As far as we are aware, she was at a party.

“There was a rival gang that may have heard about someone being in that party that they didn’t feel quite comfortable with or trusted and so they resorted to driving past and shooting into the garden, and one of those shots obviously hit Sasha Johnson.

“But I don’t believe she was the intended victim.”

Police have appealed for witnesses to the shooting, although they would not confirm if it was the incident involving Ms Johnson.

The Metropolitan Police said the woman was in hospital with life-threatening injuries after being shot in the early hours of Sunday.

She was found after officers were called to reports of gunshots in Consort Road, Peckham, south London, shortly before 3am.

It is believed the shooting occurred in the vicinity of a house where a party was taking place and a number of people may have been in the area.

What have the police said?

The Metropolitan Police said that while the investigation is at an early stage, there is nothing to suggest it was a targeted attack or that the woman had received any credible threats against her before this incident.

Detectives from the Met’s specialist crime command (Trident) are leading the investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Jimi Tele said: “This was a shocking incident that has left a young woman with very serious injuries. Our thoughts are with her family who are being provided with support at this terribly difficult time.”

 Sasha Johnson Co-organiser of the Million People March and Black Lives Matter activist takes part during the demonstration.
Organisers say the Million People march is intended to revive the original spirit of the carnival, which began as an attempt to resolve racial tensions in the capital. (Photo by Thabo Jaiyesimi / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Sasha Johnson at the Million People March she helped organise last summer. (PA)

He said detectives are making “good progress” in hunting the attackers but they need help from the public.

It is “crucial” that anyone who saw anything suspicious in the Consort Road area in the early hours of Sunday or who has heard information since then get in touch.

Tele added: “This incident will have shocked those in the local community and further afield.

“I would ask people to avoid speculating as to the motive or the circumstances behind it.”

What have her political party said?

In an Instagram post, the TTIP said: “Sasha has always been actively fighting for black people and the injustices that surround the black community, as well as being both a member of BLM and a member of Taking the Initiative Party’s executive leadership committee.

“Sasha is also a mother-of-two and a strong, powerful voice for our people and our community.

“Let’s all come together and pray for Sasha, pray for her recovery and show our support to her family and loved ones.”

Watch: Police search site of Sasha Johnson shooting