After months of protests in opposition to racism and police brutality throughout the U.S., Portland, Oregon, emerged because the new epicenter of demonstrations in response to the May 25, 2020, demise of a Black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis police custody. With the agitation got here rumors and studies throughout the town of violence from federal brokers, protesters being kidnapped in vans, tear gassing, and extra, and the media and our readers continued to pay shut consideration to occasions in Portland.
Among these tales, on-line video footage exhibiting little kids at one explicit protest bearing indicators that learn “Fuck the police” and “Eff Trump goons” captured the web and media’s consideration, because it was shared by conservative influencers equivalent to Donald Trump Jr. and Andy Ngô. The video additionally confirmed kids utilizing curse phrases to confer with the police. Snopes readers requested us if this truly befell.
The video seems to be real. We ought to word that we’ve got obscured the faces of the kids for privateness causes, however have linked to the unique video and images under.
We discovered what gave the impression to be the unique posted footage of toddlers holding these indicators in a July 22 Facebook Live video filmed in a park in entrance of the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse in downtown Portland. Another signal held within the background by an older particular person learn, “Fuck Ted Wheeler,” referring to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who has been underneath hearth for his response to safety forces’ violence in opposition to protesters. A Snopes employees member who resides in Portland confirmed the situation of the gathering seen within the footage. Images exhibiting the kids from different angles appeared in Facebook posts as nicely.
Filmmaker Rod Webber confirmed to us that he filmed three toddlers holding these indicators on Facebook Live whereas they had been accompanied by adults. His footage gave the impression to be the identical as that shared in Ngô’s tweet, with Webber’s voice addressing the kids. He didn’t decide who the adults seen within the video had been. The textual content on the indicators within the video additionally confirmed up backwards as a result of the filmmaker was apparently recording in selfie mode, which causes some cameras doing a Facebook livestream — relying on how previous they’re — to provide a “mirror” impact. Webber stated he edited his livestream footage and posted his encounters with the kids to Twitter, the place it went viral. Below is a screenshot of his footage:
The full footage confirmed Webber strolling across the park exterior the courthouse as individuals gathered, painted protest indicators on the bottom, grilled meals, and performed the drums. At two factors, round 12 minutes in, and a minute earlier than the tip of the livestream, he encountered the kids within the park with the indicators.
Before Webber signed off he walked towards the kids saying, “These kids are the best.” The kids held up the indicators, waved to the digicam, and two of them repeated, “Fuck the police” after being inspired by the adults round them. Someone within the background stated, “Power to the people,” as one youngster raised her fist in what some confer with as a Black energy salute, a well-liked gesture throughout protests in opposition to racial injustice. Webber instructed Snopes that the adults gave permission: “The adults in the group saw that I was live streaming, made eye contact and we both went toward each other. Judging by nods, facial expressions and [their] guidance of the children, I interpreted this as consent.”
Since we confirmed the origins of the footage, the identification of the filmmaker who appeared within the footage himself, noticed the kids had been strolling round with adults whereas holding the indicators in a clearly identifiable location, and the incident was reported by the news media, we fee this declare as “True.”