TikTok Influencer Attracts A New Viewers To Missouri Prisoners Proclaiming Their Innocence | KCUR 89.3
Giyoh Shey is making the Missouri criminal justice system go viral.
TikToker’s two and a half minute video has been viewed nearly 1 million times since it was released on Tuesday. Two hundred and fifty thousand people liked it. 26,000 people have downloaded it, forwarded it to friends or shared it on other platforms.
In the video, he talks about the Kevin Strickland and Lamar Johnson cases, Missouri men serving decades in prison for crimes local prosecutors failed to commit.
“All right, watch out. I’ll break this down into bullet points so that everyone can understand, ”Shey says in the video.
Shey lives in California and scours the internet for news and posts it on his TikTok series, Shit’s Getting Weird. A previous video on the Kevin Strickland case also received a lot of views, although he says it didn’t get as much attention as this one.
“I’m still surprised how many people don’t know about it,” Shey said in an interview.
This week he plans to post another video about another prisoner in Missouri that he learned about from a viewer who reached out to him.
“Either there’s something going on in Missouri, or maybe it’s just the criminal justice system in general that just … you know,” he said. “It works sometimes, but when it doesn’t work it needs to be corrected.”
Shey started the series during the pandemic because, as he says, “everything about the pandemic was just weird”. At the beginning of each video, Shey says, “Part Infinity!” To get TikTok’s algorithm to send his video to more viewers. Shey talks about everything from protests in Cuba to his thoughts on K-pop star drama.
The Missouri video received tens of thousands of comments, many of which promised to do something to help Strickland and Johnson.
“As someone who lives in Missouri, I literally have no idea as I’ve never heard of it,” wrote one commentator. “Time to cause a stir.” One actor with nearly three million followers commented, “Is there a petition we can put together? Are you taking it to the Supreme Court? “
Shey posted another TikTok urging his followers to take action. He’s hosted a gala that the Midwest Innocence Project will host Thursday night. He also published the contact information of Governor Mike Parson to his 771,000 followers.
“Those who are on Twitter can tweet Mike Parson to pressure him to do something about it and release these men,” he said.
Parson says he will not forgive Strickland because he is not yet convinced of his innocence. However, a bill that Parson signed earlier this month gives prosecutors new powers to challenge old convictions in court.
Attorney General Eric Schmitt alleges Strickland’s guilt. Schmitt also turned down a motion to grant Johnson a new trial in 2020.
Tricia Rojo Bushnell of the Midwest Innocence Project said she welcomes influencers who share their clients’ stories and put pressure on politicians.
“One of the best things we can suggest to people is learn who these people are. Find out who makes justice in your community, ”said Bushnell. “Ask them questions and think about them every time someone goes to the voting booth.”
The TikTok post, Shey said, unites different people in a desire to help the men. He hopes it will lead to pardons.
“Everyone has their opinion about a criminal justice system, whether it is good or bad.” she said. “It just says, ‘Hey, there’s an injustice here in the criminal justice system. Justice has not been done. And it has to be knocked over. ‘ And everyone agrees on that. “