Fake News: Cops Are NOT Shooting a Man In a Wheelchair Who Doesn't Know How To Lift His Hands

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Cops Are NOT Shooting a Man In a Wheelchair Who Doesn't Know How To Lift His Hands

Did the cops just shoot a disabled black man because he didn't know how to lift his hands? On March 19, 2018 a tweet was posted that implied just that:

We archived the tweet here and the video here in case it gets taken down.

Just watching the video is enough to debunk the main claim: the man can clearly move his hands and appears to have enough strength in his arms to push himself upright in the wheelchair at one point.

The tweet went massively viral nonetheless, getting over 40,000 retweets in less than two days so far.

This despite the fact that the events depicted in the video actually happened in 2015:

TIMELINE: The McDole shooting case

At about 3 p.m., Wilmington police officers responded to reports of a man in a wheelchair with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A woman called 911 saying she heard two gunshots near the rear of an AutoZone at 1810 Lancaster Ave., according to an investigative report released Thursday by the state Department of Justice.

Here are more details about what happened from that same article:

Video taken on a bystander's cell phone as McDole was confronted shows Wilmington police officers, guns drawn, telling him to raise his hands in the air and receiving no compliance. A single shot can be heard but it's unclear from the footage if McDole was hit.

The officers -- identified in the DOJ report as Senior Cpl. Danny Silva, Senior Cpl. Joseph Dellose, Cpl. Thomas Lynch and Cpl. James MacColl -- continue to advance, all the while demanding a show of submission through raised hands. Instead, McDole moves his legs with his arms to adjust himself in his seat before he reaches into his pocket.

Officers order McDole to "drop the gun" and continue ordering him to raise his hands. McDole repositions himself in his wheelchair and moves his hands onto the armrests. Less than a minute passes between the shotgun blast and the other three officers firing their weapons and killing McDole.

CNN later reported that a $1.5 million settlement was reached about the killing but that the city and police department did not acknowledge any wrongdoing and the police officers were not prosecuted because the Delaware DOJ did not find they had enough probable cause against them.

While it can be argued if the shooting was justified or not, saying that the man couldn't lift his hands is clearly false.

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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