George Floyd

  • UPDATED: False: Joe Biden did not kneel before Ghanaian actor Don Little nor George Floyd’s son!

    US presidential candidate, Joe Biden, kneels before Ghanaian actor Don Little or George Floyd’s son in the US

    The photo used as the basis for the claim shows someone other than Don Little. It also does not show George Floyd’s son. The little boy is CJ Brown, son of Clement Brown, the owner of Three Thirteen clothing store on Livernois Avenue in the USA.

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    An image that was widely circulated last year of U.S. President Joe Biden kneeling before a child has been revived. Last year, social media users said the child in the picture was the Ghanaian actor, Don Little. This time, they claim he is George Floyd’s son; President Biden, according to the posts, knelt before Floyd’s son to ask for forgiveness.

    Last year, many news portals in Ghana including Kasapafmonline and GhPage published reports that claim that former US vice president; Joe Biden, has been captured in a photo kneeling before Ghanaian actor, Stephen Atanga popularly known as Don Little. 

    The accompanying photo shows the politician, who was the Democrats’ presidential candidate for the 2020 US elections, down on one knee talking to a little boy. 

    The reports cite Joe Biden’s Instagram account as a source for the photo which has since been shared many times on social media

    At the time, the actor, Don Little in an interview on Angel FM’s evening news bulletin on Thursday September 17, 2020 also claimed that he was the one in the photo. 

    He said the then presidential candidate knelt before him after he predicted victory for him. 

    “I was on my way to the Ghana Embassy in the US and on my way they showed me where they have meetings. I waved at him [Joe Biden] and said ‘hi’ and he called me. I didn’t even know that he was contesting Trump. I prophesied to him that in the upcoming elections, he will win the elections and that if my prophecy fails, he should walk past me if he sees me. 

    “He was shocked and knelt before me and asked me to repeat what I said. He told one of his people to take a photo of us… It is in Ghana that leaders don’t allow us to get close to them but elsewhere, the leaders are humble,” he told host Kofi Adoma Wanwani [17 mins – 28 mins]. 

    Don Little in a Joy News interview said he started acting in 2011 but could not gain public attention because most of the movies were never released. He said he later started selling airtime in traffic and was noticed by comic actor Funny Face who featured him in his Cow and Chicken series. Don Little became famous from that series owing among other things to his diminutive stature.

    Verification

    The original photo, which was published on Biden’s Instagram page on 15th September 2020 was geotagged Detroit, Michigan.

    A reverse image search conducted based on location and date clues directed us to a September 17, 2020 publication by a local newspaper, the Detroit Free Press that showed similar photos like the one used to make the claim. 

    The photos show different angles of the single-shot shared by the Ghanaian news portals claiming that the boy who was captured was Don Little. 

    According to the Detroit Free Press publication, the photo was taken on September 9, 2020, at the Three Thirteen clothing store on Livernois Avenue after a campaign event at the UAW Region 1 headquarters in Macomb County. 

    The report further indicates that the little boy is CJ Brown, son of Clement Brown, the owner of the clothing store.

    An assessment of the additional photos shown in the publication provided compelling evidence that it was not Don Little although the two individuals appear to have the same hairstyle and height and are of a similar skin complexion.

    C:\Users\Jonas\Desktop\c9c021ba-9b58-45de-a03f-d926dd9188e370-horz.jpg

    CJ Brown (Left), Don Little (Right)

    Below are more photos of Joe Biden and the supposed ‘Don Little’ published by the Detroit Free Press and ABC News’ local portal in Detroit.  

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    A news report by Citinewsroom.com published on August 19, 2020, indicated that Ghanaian actor, Don Little returned to Ghana in August 2020 after being held-up in the US due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On August 19, 2020 the actor published a video on his Instagram page in which he expressed appreciation to some state officials for facilitating his return to Ghana.

    When we contacted Don Little on phone via his local number on the matter, he said he was at the moment on a movie set in Ghana and will revert at an agreed time to further speak on the matter. 

    His phone has since gone unanswered.   

    Conclusion

    Based on the evidence above, we rate as false the claim that Don Little was pictured with Biden and that the US presidential candidate had knelt before Ghanaian actor.  

    The reporter produced this fact-check under the auspices of the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship in partnership with Citinewsroom to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and to enhance media literacy in the country.

  • FACT-CHECK: Was a tribute read on Ghana’s behalf at George Floyd’s funeral?

    A tribute was read on behalf of Ghana and President Akufo-Addo at George Floyd’s funeral in the US.

    No tribute was read on either Ghana or President Nana Akufo-Addo’s behalf at the funeral service of George Floyd in the US. However, the country and its president were acknowledged for the solidarity shown to the family of Floyd.

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    Some social media posts shared by some influential persons claim that a tribute was read on behalf of Ghana and on the personal behalf of President Nana Akufo-Addo at the funeral service of African-American man, George Floyd, that was held at the Fountain of Praise Church in Houston, Texas on Tuesday, June 9, 2020.

    One of the posts reads: “Tribute read on behalf of @nakufoaddo and Ghana at the funeral of #georgefloyd.” Another read, “Tribute read on behalf of Ghana at the ongoing funeral for #georgefloyd.”

    The posts, accompanied by a one-minute-long video clip from the funeral, have reached thousands of social media users already. 

    Verification

    To verify the claim, we obtained a full video clip of the funeral service as streamed on Facebook by Yahoo News and reviewed the part that mentioned Ghana and President Nana Akufo-Addo. 

    At the one hour eight-minute mark, Ivy McGregor, Director for Social Responsibility for Parkwood Entertainment, was invited to deliver “resolutions”. 

    She read resolutions from Fountain of Praise Church, Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church, and the 1993 Class of Jack Yates Senior High School. 

    At 1 hour 14 minutes, she mentioned Ghana and President Nana Akufo-Addo. We have transcribed all she said about Ghana and President Nana Akufo-Addo below.

    [At 1:14:00 to 1:15:00]

    Ivy McGregor: “The family of George Floyd will like to acknowledge the message of solidarity, resolution and virtual tribute from His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, the President of Ghana. Yesterday, during the memorial, a video produced by the people of Ghana was broadcast for thousands of mourners as they paid their final respects to Mr Floyd. The family is honoured by President Akufo-Addo’s decision to have Mr Floyd’s name permanently mounted on the historic Sankofa wall at the Diaspora African Forum in the W.E.B Dubois centre in Africa.

    They are grateful that the country of Ghana stands with the Floyd family and the struggle of all families to change the status quo of racism and prejudice. The family is deeply moved by the generous act of the Ghanaian government to solidify George Floyd’s legacy.”

    McGregor subsequently acknowledged several individuals and institutions who had also expressed their solidarity with George Floyd. 

    To give a better context, we have defined the two keywords in this fact-check; Tribute and Resolution below: 

    Tribute: A tribute is a sign of respect or admiration, an award to honour a person’s accomplishments (according to Vocabulary.com).

    Resolution: A funeral resolution is a formal acknowledgement of the relationship between the deceased and a church community. It is delivered at a funeral to honour someone who has died by elaborating on his spiritual qualities and good works (according to dying.lovetoknow.com).

    Based on the above, it is clear that Ivy McGregor did not read a tribute on behalf of Ghana or on behalf of President Nana Akufo-Addo. She read three resolutions from different groups and only acknowledged Ghana and President Akufo-Addo for the solidarity for George Floyd and his family.

    Based on these facts, we conclude that the claim is false.  

  • Were zoo animals in Chicago freed to join the George Floyd protests?

    A Facebook post purports that zoo animals in Chicago were freed to protest against the killing of George Floyd.

    The photos of the zoo animals on the street are old photos of incidents occurring in different countries and have been on the Internet since at least, 2014. They have no relation whatsoever with the George Floyd protests in America. Furthermore, the Chicago zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, has debunked the claim and has assured that there have been no break-ins and all their animals are fully accounted for as safe.

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    Over the last week, the streets of the United States of America witnessed several protests, more than the coronavirus lockdown protests in April 2020. For ten consecutive nights, people across the country took to the streets to demand for justice and protest against racism and police brutalities with the theme Black Lives Matter, following the killing of an African-American man, George Floyd, by four white Minneapolis officers on 25 May 2020. 

    Beside the mass protests on streets of many cities across the nation, social media has also been a tool for the Black Lives Matter activism. It has, undeniably, also been a source of updates for the on-going protests. One of such perceived updates is a Facebook post which claims that people in Chicago have broken into the zoo and freed animals to join the protests. The post is accompanied with seven photos of a hippopotamus, tiger, kangaroo, lion, zebra on the street and two monkeys with two men. 

    Since it was posted on 1st June, has been shared by 626 other Facebook users. 

    Verification

    The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago has confirmed that none of its animals has escaped, and all were safe, consequently refuting the claim.

    The Lincoln Park Zoo made this statement in a Twitter post on June 1, 2020.

    “All animals at Lincoln Park Zoo are accounted for and safe. There were no break-ins, thefts or incidents last night. Images circulating, claiming to be of Lincoln Park Zoo animals out of their habitats, are false” the statement read.

    Additionally, none of Chicago’s state publications and mainstream media, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here,  has reported on claims of Chicago protests pertaining to  breaking into a zoo to let animals out to join street protests. The protests in Chicago, have generally been reported as peaceful.

    The Photos Explained

    • Dubawa ran a Google image search on all seven photos of the animals and found the following:

    1. The photo of the hippopotamus

    Two news articles in the UK and in Spain, posted four years ago, on 5 May 2016, indicate that the photo of the hippopotamus has no relation with the Floyd protests. The hippopotamus was reported to have escaped from a visiting circus in Palos de la Frontera, in Spain. It was found and taken back to the circus.

    2. The photo of the tiger

    According to three articles in the US, here, here and here, which were posted three years ago, on 6 and 7 September 2017, the photo of the tiger is also an incident of an escaped circus tiger, Suzy, who escaped from a truck and was seen in Atlanta. The tiger was eventually gunned down.

    3. The photo of the wallaby

    The photo of the wallaby is also a stock photo, according to three articles, here, here, and here, which were posted two years ago, on 16 January 2018. The wallaby was seen hopping over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, in Australia. It was subsequently captured by the police and taken back to custody.

    4. The photo of the lion

    This lion has featured in other false claims, most recently, it was purported to have been set loose by Russian President, Vladimir Putin to ensure Russian abide by lockdown directives. An article posted on 15 April 2016, shows that the photo of the lion is of an incident that happened in Johannesburg, South Africa. The lion, Columbus, was part of a film and the film company released him without getting approval to close roads in the city.

    5. The photo of the zebra

    According to a post from five years ago, the photo of the zebra was associated with a ‘Louisville Purge’ incident, a story started by a teenager’s tweet announcing a free-for-all violent-purge in the city of Louisville in the US. This story was later confirmed to be a hoax, according to articles here, and here, both posted six years ago, on 16 August 2014. Since the story was identified to be false, it is certain the photos of the zebra have no association with the story either. The photo, however, has been on the Internet since at least August 2014 and is not associated with the George Floyd protests.

    While Google Image searches show that Twitter posts similarly make claims of the photo of the man in Chicago purported to be selling a monkey for 10K, and the photo of a man purported to have stolen a monkey named Curious George, to be from the Chicago protests, however, searches on TinEye here and here, do not show any other original appearances of such photos.

    Conclusion

    The claim that people have freed animals in Chicago to protest is false. All the photos of the zoo animals on the street are old photos of incidents occurring in different countries and have been on the Internet since at least, 2014. They have no relation whatsoever with the George Floyd protests in any American city. Furthermore, the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago has debunked the claim and has assured that there have been no break-ins and that all their animals have been accounted for as safe and under safe protection in the zoo.

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