VERIFY: Is Viral Photo Of Black Charlottesville Officer From August Rally?

VERIFY: Are these images from this weekend in Charlottesville?

Beginning Saturday, the photographs were widely circulated on social media -- on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook.

One shows a black police officer standing quietly in front of a police barricade and yellow police tape, as behind him, protesters, some carrying the Confederate flag, most wearing black shirts, at least one wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood, and others making Nazi-like salutes. The second shows a baby wearing a makeshift white KKK hood and gown standing before a row of uniformed, helmeted police officers standing with clear shields. The baby gingerly touches the shield of one of the officers. 

We posed the question: Are these photos from the 'Unite the Right' rally on Saturday, August 12 in Charlottesville, Va.?

► Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WFMY News 2 App now.

The photos were sent to the WXIA Facebook page by many users. They have been circulated by many individuals on Twitter and Instagram feeds.

But after checking more closely, we were able to determine that both photographs had actually been published prior to Saturday's rally.

While the first photograph of the officer depicted actually is from Charlottesville, Va., the photo's origin is tied to an even earlier march.

On Saturday, July 8, the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan held a rally in Charlottesville in protest of the removal of the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.



The photograph that was circulated was taken at that particular rally, and initially posted on Facebook by Charlottesville resident Kimberly Payne Hawk on July 10 with this quote: 

"This photo is powerful. This is Charlottesville Police Officer Nash serving our community and protecting the KKK's first amendment rights even though the very people he is protecting hate him because of his race. Officer Nash is a hero in my eyes. I cannot imagine the restraint, professionalism, and self control it takes to stay calm and do your job while dealing with the KKK and people giving Nazi salutes."

So, while the photograph is from Charlottesville, the claim that is from the August rally is FALSE.

The second photograph is actually much older. 

A look at the patches on the officers' shoulders shown in the photo quickly show that they are Georgia State Patrol troopers.

In addition, a search for the photograph on the internet finds that the photo itself comes from a newspaper article taken during a Klan march in Gainesville, Ga., by photographer Todd Robertson on Saturday, September 5, 1992.

The photo appeared initially in the Gainesville Times the following day, September 6, 1992. In the years since that date, the photo has seen print at varying times. This weekend's emergence coming as one of the most recent. 

So, the claim of the second photograph being from the August 12 rally is also FALSE

VERIFY Sources: 

WVIR Charlottesville: KKK Group holds rally in Charlottesville park, July 8, 2017

Kimberly Payne Hawk, Facebook photo post, July 10, 2017

The Poynter Institute, How KKK rally image found new life 20 years after it was published, January 9, 2013

Gainesville Times, Sunday, September 6, 1992, Page B1 (pdf)

© 2018 WXIA-TV


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment