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Beyonce and Jay-Z 'gave thousands of dollars' to free protesters in Baltimore and Ferguson, claims activist

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Beyoncé and Jay-Z "gave thousands of dollars to free protesters" arrested in anti-police brutality demonstrations in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri an activist has claimed. 

Activist and film-maker Dream Hampton claims one of Hollywood's richest couples wired "tens of thousands" of dollars to people who could not afford bail after being detained in the unrest, which swept across the US after the fatal shooting of a black teenager, and the death of another black man in police custody. 

Hampton, who ghost-wrote Jay-Z's 2010 autobiography Decoded, tweeted about the donations in a series of messages that have since been deleted at the request of Bey and Jay.

But they were first screen-grabbed by hip hop magazine Complex

"I’m going to tweet this and I don’t care if Jay gets mad," she wrote. 

"When we needed money for bail for Baltimore protesters, I ... hit Jay up, as I had for Ferguson (and he) wired tens of thousands."

She went onto claim that the 33-year-old pop star and her husband wrote "a huge check" to the Black Lives Matter movement, aimed at stopping police brutality.

She added that the couple frequently make similar donations  "... too much to list actually, that they always insist folk keep quiet".

She later said she had deleted the tweets because Jay-Z "would be p*-****d to see I was offering evidence" that he and Beyonce are taking action over the protests. 

A video posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

Hampton later deleted the tweets and described them as "error-ridden". However, she confirmed to the Guardian that Bey and Jay-Z helped to bail protesters caught up in the demonstrations. 

Protests spread last year after a white police officer shot dead African American teenager Michael Brown in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson. Last month, major and sometimes violent demonstrations again broke out in Baltimore after the death of another black man, 25-year-old Freddie Gray, whose spine was nearly severed in police custody.

Video footage filmed by a passerby showed a visibly distressed Gray being handcuffed on the ground pushed into the back of the van.

Beyonce and Jay-Z are one of the richest couples in America, with an estimated net worth of $1 billion (£640 million). 

Bey recently added her voice to the ongoing debate borne out of the civil unrest, in a series of Instagram posts three weeks ago (above).  The first showed a TIME video clip juxtaposing the infamous Baltimore riots of 1968, which raged for more than a week following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, with riots of last month. The second post was an image of a man wearing a black and white American flag with Freddie Grey’s name written on it.

According to AFP news agency, Bey and Jay-Z had been criticised by some activists for merely paying lip service to the cause. Hampton's tweets were likely an attempt to deflect that criticism. 

Before she deleted her tweets, Hampton noted that the couple's contribution was important because - she claims - authorities are trying to quash protests with exorbitant bail conditions. 

"They're waging war on black resistance in a multitude of ways, many of them financially," she said. "Protest is literally punished with tariffs. When they fine and arrest people for protesting, more opportunities for exploitation by the state are possible with each encounter."

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