Story at a glance
- A white Minneapolis police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck in a viral video of an arrest that resulted in his death.
- The four officers involved in Floyd's death have been fired from the police department.
- “Make Whites Great Again" was trending on Twitter after a photo of another man was mistakenly identified as one of the officers involved in the incident.
On Tuesday morning, Americans awoke to a viral video of a white Minneapolis police officer kneeling on a black man’s neck as he struggled to breathe. The next day, the phrase “Make Whites Great Again,” a play off of President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” was trending on Twitter.
A photo had surfaced of a white man wearing a red hat with the words “Make Whites Great Again” stitched on the front, while holding what appears to be a blackberry in one hand. Twitter users challenged an initial identification of the man as Derek Chauvin, the former police officer shown kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, and said the hat had been photoshopped.
The person in the "Make Whites Great Again" hat ( which is photoshopped) is not #DerekChauvin the race soldier who lynched #GeorgeFloy. It’s another suspected white supremacist named Jonathan Riches. That’s why I never tweeted that fake photo because pic.twitter.com/tuxhRD6NLH— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) May 27, 2020
Riches is known for filing a large number of lawsuits, including some against President George W. Bush, Steve Jobs and Britney Spears.
By 10 a.m. on May 27, there were about 19,600 tweets using the phrase on Twitter. Trending alongside it was the hashtag “All Lives Matter,” a phrase used in protest of the Black Lives Matter movement, which was used in 78,000 tweets. Changing America has reached out to Twitter for comment.
The online discourse followed a night of protests in Minneapolis against Floyd's death, the latest in a continual trend of black men dying after altercations with police officers.
Chauvin and three other police officers involved in Floyd’s death were terminated by the Minneapolis Police Department on Tuesday.
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