Fact Check: Man Wearing MAGA-Style Hat In Photo Or Onstage At Trump Rally Is NOT Minneapolis Cop Derek Chauvin, Involved In Death Of George Floyd

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Man Wearing MAGA-Style Hat In Photo Or Onstage At Trump Rally Is NOT Minneapolis Cop Derek Chauvin, Involved In Death Of George Floyd Not Him

Is a man wearing a MAGA-style red hat that reads "Make Whites Great Again" in a photo the Minneapolis police officer who had his knee on George Floyd's neck as Floyd died? No, that's not true: The photo shared widely on social media is of a notorious internet troll who has fooled major news outlets on several instances in recent years. It is not Officer Derek Chauvin, who was fired after Floyd's death. Another photo of a man on stage at a Donald Trump rally and identified in some posts as Chauvin is also not the officer, according to the Minneapolis Police Union president.

The red-hat photo appeared in a post shared on the "Progressive American Politics" page (archived here) on May 26, 2020. The post read:

This is the Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin that killed # GeorgeFloyd wearing a custom made hat that says, "Make Whites Great Again". And then you wonder why he refused to get his knee off George Floyd's neck even as George screamed out "Mama help me" and wet himself as he suffocated and died on the street. This man is a murderer and should be charged immediately! # Minneapolis # Police # DerekChauvin # Murder # Racist # Cop

This is what the red hat post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

The man in the photo wearing the red hat is not Chauvin. Chauvin is the uniformed officer in the other photo with his knee on Floyd's neck.

The man wearing the red hat appears to be Jonathan Riches, a notorious troll who spent time in prison for wire fraud. The Huffington Post covered Riches' trolling of multiple politicians including Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

NBC New reporter Brandy Zadrozny reported the man in the MAGA-style hat was Riches, not Chauvin.

The Facebook image of uniformed Chauvin showing him pinning down Floyd is from the viral video of the incident, in which Floyd says he can't breathe multiple times before losing consciousness.

While the photo was taken down on several Twitter accounts, rapper Ice Cube, whose real name is O'Shea Jackson, still had the photo up on May 27.

Twitter accounts also showed photos of a man on stage at a President Donald Trump rally in October 2019, misidentifying the man on stage as Chauvin, according to the Minneapolis police union.

Minneapolis news station FOX9 reported that Minneapolis Police Union President Lt. Bob Kroll, who spoke at the Trump rally, said Chauvin is not the officer in the photo.

chauvin not.png

One Facebook post sharing this image was accompanied with the message:

What you do in the dark eventually comes to the light this is one of the cops who murdered the black man in Minneapolis at a trump rally😠😠😠😠😠

This is video of the Trump rally in Minneapolis in October, 2019.

Chauvin and the three other police officers at the scene with Floyd have been fired.

Here is video from the TODAY Show that shows Chauvin with his knee on Floyd and the news report of the incident.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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