In a significant development, a defamation lawsuit that has spanned more than two years has been resolved, with Black Lives Matter (BLM) Sacramento founder, Tanya Faison, issuing a public apology to the plaintiff, real estate investor Karra Crowley. The lawsuit, which stemmed from false accusations of racist and hateful comments, has concluded with Faison admitting to her wrongdoing and acknowledging the harm caused by her actions.
Karra Crowley had filed the lawsuit against BLM Sacramento and Tanya Faison in May 2021, alleging libel and seeking redress for the damage done to her reputation and business. The suit arose after Crowley was falsely accused of posting racially insensitive and offensive comments on the BLM Sacramento Facebook page by Tanya Faison and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Faison's attorney, Mark Merin, confirmed that a settlement had been reached. As part of the resolution, Faison removed the original post attacking Crowley and posted a video apology on the BLM Sacramento Facebook page. In the 98-second video, Faison expressed deep remorse for her actions and acknowledged the harm inflicted upon Crowley, her family, and her business.
Faison's apology came with a candid acknowledgment of her recklessness. She admitted to the mistake of not removing the post after Crowley had explained that she was not responsible for the offensive messages. Instead, Faison had chosen to amplify the false claims, leading to severe consequences for Crowley, including death threats.
The court documents revealed that investigators determined the true source of the offensive messages to be Robert Leslie Adair, a former tenant who had been evicted by Crowley in the past. Adair's involvement in the incident cast a shadow over the accusations initially directed at Crowley.
The dispute had erupted when someone falsely claiming to be "Karra Crowley" posted derogatory and racially charged remarks on the BLM Sacramento Facebook page. The messages contained inflammatory content and invoked themes of racism and hatred. The BLM Sacramento page responded by asserting the veracity of the claims, which subsequently led to threats and vulgar messages being directed at Crowley. The false accusations that originated with BLM resulted in the loss of Crowley's business license and led the state to order her business shut down "in the name of combatting racism". People known to be customers of her business also faced harrassment and doxing online.
Karra Crowley's lawyer, Jeffrey H. Ochrach, filed a request for the dismissal of the lawsuit, stating that the parties had agreed on a court-supervised settlement. This resolution aimed to bring closure to the protracted legal battle and allow both parties to move forward.
Meanwhile, court records from Placer Superior Court indicated that Robert Leslie Adair was facing legal challenges involving identity fraud and writing bad checks. BLM Sacramento's association with Adair has raised questions about their actions.
Members of BLM Sacramento also face consequences for their role in the slander and defamation case. Both fines and potential prison time loom if the terms of the plea deal are violated.
This settlement not only underscores the importance of accountability in the realm of social media and activism but also serves as a reminder of the potential consequences of spreading false information. As both parties seek to put this chapter behind them, the case highlights the broader implications of online actions and the power of public apologies in rectifying harm caused by misinformation.