Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Change In George Floyd Hair In Moments Before His Death

Fact Check

  • by: Eric Ferkenhoff
Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Change In George Floyd Hair In Moments Before His Death No Hair Change

Does a video screenshot of George Floyd show he has hair when police pulled him from a car, but he had no hair when a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck? No, that's not true: A close examination of the video from which the screenshots were taken show no inconsistency in Floyd's head. The claim appeared to imply that the incident that triggered weeks of protests around the United States was staged with "crisis actors." Lead Stories has previously debunked similar claims.

The claim appears in a post (archived here) put on Facebook on July 12, 2020. The post is a meme, which read:

A good friend of mine just made me aware of something- so I watched the video again and noticed That George Floyd had hair when he was arrested and when he was pushed into the Police Car- But when Derek Chauvin pulled him out the other side of the car and kneeled on him- he had no hair. also the shape of his head dramatically changes. Please get this shared madly."

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

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Jul 15 16:26:41 2020 UTC)

Here is a screenshot of the post, with larger images:


All of the images in the meme appear to have been taken from the New York Times

The post makes little sense other than to suggest that Floyd's death was a hoax perpetrated against the public, somehow using actors to pull it off. Nothing about the post is accurate, as Floyd, upon close examination of the footage in a recreation of the arrest by The New York Times, clearly shows he has hair. Consider the below screenshot, captured by Lead Stories:


True, Floyd's closely cropped hair makes it difficult to see at first. But the hair is there. There is simply no evidence -- at all -- that one person was arrested, then another was knelt on. Even the photo from the Facebook post, when enlarged, shows hair on his head.

Here is the YouTube video posted by The New York Times that recreates the events leading up to Floyd's death. The text below the video reads, "The Times has reconstructed the death of George Floyd on May 25. Security footage, witness videos and official documents show how a series of actions by officers turned fatal. (This video contains scenes of graphic violence.)":

Any viewer who looks closely enough at the video will see that Floyd has hair, and that his head, while possibly appearing a different shape due to the pressure under the officer's knee and against the pavement, has not changed. There are not two different people; it was Floyd throughout the video.

The officer who knelt on Floyd's neck, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with murder and three other officers have been charged with abetting murder in the death of Floyd.

Still, conspiracy theorists have pushed the notion that Floyd never actually died -- that he was alive and off living somewhere as part of some play on the world -- or that crisis actors staged the event and Floyd wasn't even a real person. This is all false.

Lead Stories has debunked those conspiracy theories and others concerning George Floyd's death:

--Fact Check: George Floyd is NOT Alive And There Is No Evidence Video Of His Death Was Faked

--Fact Check: Derek Chauvin Is NOT A Crisis Actor, NOT Involved In 'False Flag' Boston Marathon Bombing And Sandy Hook Massacre

--Fact Check: George Floyd Was NOT 'Found To Be Innocent,' No Word On If $20 Bill Was Real

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  Eric Ferkenhoff

Eric Ferkenhoff has been a reporter, editor and professor for 27 years, working chiefly out of the Midwest and now the South. Focusing on the criminal and juvenile justice systems, education and politics, Ferkenhoff has won several journalistic and academic awards and helped start a fact-checking project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he continues to teach advanced reporting. Ferkenhoff also writes and edits for the juvenile justice site JJIE.org.


Read more about or contact Eric Ferkenhoff

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