Fake News: Sex Trafficker Did NOT Lie On The Road And Attack Motorist

Hoax Alert

  • by: Ryan Cooper

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fake News: Sex Trafficker Did NOT Lie On The Road And Attack Motorist

Did a sex trafficker lie on the road to act like their car broke down before attacking motorists who stopped to help? No, that's not true: The Hillsborough County Sheriff in Tampa, Florida, said the story is a hoax, but the viral post continues to spread online.

The claim originated from a post (archived here) published by Facebook user Cornelius King on November 19, 2019. It opened:

This Shit Happened To My Lil Brother Last Night In Tampa, Sex Trafficking Is Real, These People Lay In The Middle Of The Road And Act Like Their Car Broke Down Or Play Hurt For You To Stop. When U Get Out The Car They Attack. If Y'all See Anything Like This, Don't Hesitate To Run Their Ass Over. If U Scared Then Try Your Best To Go Around, But Whatever You Do, Don't Get Out Of Your Car, Lock Your Doors And Keep It Moving....!!!!!!!!!!!
#ProtectYourKids #AllGasNoBreaks

Users on social media saw this:

Screenshot-2019-12-30-at-09.50.39.png

The post has gained thousands of comments, shares, and engagements. King claims his younger brother witnessed the incident in Tampa, Florida.

The Tampa Bay Times has also debunked the story, reporting:

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and Tampa Police are both aware of the viral post, but neither department has heard of people feigning injury in the streets to ambush concerned passersby.

The post begs several questions: how did the person who photographed the alleged incident know the person in the middle of the road was a sex trafficker? Was the photographer King's younger brother? If the victim of the thwarted attack was able to photograph the incident - and get away to tell the story - wouldn't he or she have filed a police report?

The post encourages other motorists to "Don't Hesitate To Run Their Ass Over." In other words, the user is advocating that other people commit a crime.

Lead Stories attempted to reach out to King, who posted the photos and made the claim, but did not receive a reply by the time this was published.

Updates:

  • 2020-01-23T21:07:57Z 2020-01-23T21:07:57Z
    Update: After this story was published, the Facebook post was removed. We have updated the story to include a screenshot of the original post.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:


  Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is the former Director of Programming at CNN International, where he helped shape the network's daily newscasts broadcast to more than 280 million households around the world. He was based at the network's Los Angeles Bureau. There, he managed the team responsible for a three-hour nightly program, Newsroom LA.

Formerly, he worked at the headquarters in Atlanta, and he spent four years at the London bureau. An award-winning producer, Cooper oversaw the network's Emmy Award-winning coverage of the uprising in Egypt in 2011. He also served as a supervising producer during much of the network's live reporting on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2006, for which CNN received an Edward R. Murrow Award.

Read more about or contact Ryan Cooper

About us

International Fact-Checking Organization

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Follow us on social media

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion