Chicago's Black Lives Matter chapter accused the president of the city's police union of threatening the group in an email. Within hours, the left-wing organization revealed the message was fake.
"Thanks to everyone for sharing how to authenticate an email," tweeted BLM Chicago, the city's branch of the anti-police movement, on Wednesday. "We get hate mail, death threats via email, phone, messenger, etc daily, however this was a new one from a seemingly official account. Each one teach one. We appreciate our village."
Hours earlier, the organization posted a screenshot of a fake email that appeared to be from Chicago Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara. "TIMES UP FOR THUGLIVESMATTER! WERE [sic] COMING FOR YOU HOMEBOYS," the message read, according to BLM Chicago's screenshot. The group, which has called for a 75 percent cut to the city's police budget, accused Catanzara of sending the message from his police union email.
Catanzara on Wednesday pushed back, saying the email was "fabricated."
"Clearly, it is false, misleading, and extremely troubling that your organization would repost such an inflammatory email without verifying its authenticity," Catanzara wrote in a statement.
BLM Chicago, which said it sent a copy of the threatening message to its lawyers, posted an email authentication of the message, which showed it was forged with a fake sender address. The organization, however, did not delete the screenshot of the fake email, which was "liked" by thousands of Twitter users, by publishing time.
BLM Chicago's false accusation against Catanzara came just days after the police union president criticized Mayor Lori Lightfoot's relationship with the city's police, saying the Democrat has "vilified" Chicago's law enforcement officers. The mayor is a vocal proponent of police reform and has accused the city's department of having a "fraught relationship with minority communities, stemming from historical racism, decades of mistreatment, and unconstitutional and questionable policing practices."
Tensions remained high between Lightfoot and Chicago police after assailants killed 29-year-old officer Ella French on the city's South Side on Saturday. Police officers turned their backs on Lightfoot when she visited the University of Chicago Medical Center, where French's partner is receiving treatment, according to local reports.