A Facebook post about protests taking place in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death is criticizing protesters for “destroying the cemeteries” of veterans. But three of the four images cited are old and have nothing to do with the protests.
But a Facebook post is accusing protesters of “destroying” tributes to veterans by spreading photos of vandalized memorials that in reality are years old and have nothing to do with the protests. Only one of the four pictures is current and related.
“Let me start by saying – I don’t agree with any one who is innocent being killed like George Floyd was,” the post reads. “This is absolutely ridiculous. If you dislike the United States this much then PLEASE feel free to find a new place to live where you will have absolutely no rights like we do here. Destroying the cemeteries that hold bodies of men and women who have fought for our freedom is beyond disrespect.”
We found that three of the four images that are paired with the post are old and unrelated to the recent protests against police brutality:
- One image is a police department photo from Henderson, Kentucky, from 2016 that shows a wrecked Memorial Day display of crosses at a park. A man was arrested for driving his car through the display, according to Time.
- Another image, also from 2016, shows graffiti on a memorial for Vietnam War veterans in Los Angeles. The same photo can be seen in an Associated Press report about the sentencing of the 24-year-old man responsible.
- A third image depicts a smashed stone memorial for Lt. Michael P. Murphy in Suffolk County, New York. Murphy was a Navy Seal killed in Afghanistan who received the Medal of Honor posthumously. A 14-year-old boy was arrested in July 2018 for vandalizing the memorial, according to the Suffolk County Police Department.
Only one of the four images used is related to the current protests. It shows vandalism at the base of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
National Mall and Memorial Parks, a part of the National Park Service, shared a photo of that defacement — the spray paint reads, “Yall not tired yet?” — in a May 31 tweet about vandalism that occurred amid demonstrations the night before.
The tweet also included two other photos, showing that the World War II Memorial and the statue of General Casimir Pulaski were also defaced.
The Facebook post could have made its point by showing the National Mall and Memorial Park’s photos of vandalized memorials. But none of those photos — or the ones in the Facebook post — show protesters “destroying the cemeteries that hold bodies of men and women who have fought for our freedom,” as the post said.
Garland, Chad. “Arrest is made in vandalism of monument honoring MOH recipient Michael Murphy.” Stars and Stripes. 20 Jul 2018.
“Man Gets 4 Years for Vandalism of LA Vietnam War Memorial.” Associated Press. 21 Jan 2017.
National Mall and Memorial Parks (@NationalMallNPS). “In the wake of last night’s demonstrations, there are numerous instances of vandalism to sites around the National Mall. For generations the Mall has been our nation’s premier civic gathering space for non-violent demonstrations, and we ask individuals to carry on that tradition.” Twitter. 31 May 2020.
“President Bush Presents Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, U.S. Navy.” George W. Bush White House. 22 Oct 2007.
Reilly, Katie. “Kentucky Man Arrested For Damaging Display of Memorial Day Crosses.” Time. 30 May 2016.
Suffolk County Police Department (@SuffolkPD). “UPDATE: 14-Year-Old Male Arrested for Vandalizing Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial.” Facebook. 20 Jul 2018.