Fact Check: Louisville Bail Project Did NOT Rent Truck That Distributed Supplies to Louisville Protest and Bail Project Gets NO Funds from George Soros

Fact Check

  • by: Dean Miller
Fact Check: Louisville Bail Project Did NOT Rent Truck That Distributed Supplies to Louisville Protest and Bail Project Gets NO Funds from George Soros Not Soros'

Did the Louisville Bail Project rent a truck to deliver "riot supplies" to a Black Lives Matter march with support from billionaire George Soros? No, neither of those claims is true. The U-Haul truck shown in online videos delivering supplies to Black Lives Matter marchers was rented by Holly Zoller, a longtime Louisville anti-racism activist. The Bail Project's national spokesperson said it receives no funding from George Soros, and that Zoller, a Bail Project client advocate, did not spend Bail Project funds or work-time helping out the marchers. Video from two angles show only signs, shields, surgical masks and water being handed out of the truck to protesters, who were lining up to demonstrate against a grand jury's decision not to charge two of the three police officers who shot into Breonna Taylor's apartment, killing her during a botched drug investigation in March of 2020.

The Soros claim originated in an article published by The Gateway Pundit on September 23, 2020 titled "U-Haul Seen Distributing Shields, Weapons to Louisville Rioters Rented to Holly Zoller of Soros-Connected Louisville Bail Project" (archived here) which opened:

The U-Haul that began distributing riot supplies in Louisville immediately following the announcement that no officers would be charged for Breonna Taylor's death was rented to Holly Zoller of the Louisville Bail Initiative. The pre-parked truck was loaded with shields painted with anti-police messages, umbrellas, gas masks, and other riot supplies.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

U-Haul Seen Distributing Shields, Weapons to Louisville Rioters Rented to Holly Zoller of Soros-Connected Louisville Bail Project

The U-Haul that began distributing riot supplies in Louisville immediately following the announcement that no officers would be charged for Breonna Taylor's death was rented to Holly Zoller of the Louisville Bail Initiative. The pre-parked truck was loaded with shields painted with anti-police messages, umbrellas, gas masks, and other riot supplies. Zoller confirmed it was...

In a Sept. 25, 2020 email to Lead Stories, Camilo Ramirez, Communications Director at the national office of The Bail Project said alt-right bloggers such as Gateway Pundit are incorrect:

George Soros is not one of our funders...All online donations to The Bail Project go into our National Revolving Bail Fund where they are used only for the purposes of providing free bail assistance for low-income people. Funds are then disbursed to our local staff in cities like Louisville so they can conduct bailouts.

The Bail Project's website says its mission is to bail low-income defendants out of jail to prevent disruptions in work, child care and family connection that are a result of what The Bail Project says is an inequitable application of bail to the poor and to people of color.

Ramirez said Zoller is a long-time Louisville activist who often marches on her own time. He said she has become a target of alt-right bloggers since she began speaking out about being injured by the driver who killed a woman and injured others when he crashed his car into the crowd of counter-protesters, killing one, during the neo-Nazi "Unite The Right" march on the University of Virgina campus in Charlottesville, Virginia in August of 2017. The driver was convicted of murder.

Ramirez said he did not expect to be able to set up a Lead Stories interview with Zoller:

I don't know if I'll be able to reach her soon. She's been getting hate calls and online threats non-stop and had to move for her safety.

Zoller was identified in by Gateway Pundit and other bloggers as the person who rented the truck after an unidentified U-Haul employee leaked a copy of her rental agreement and a screenshot of the U-Haul log of activities related to her rental of the truck. In a Sept. 24 email to Lead Stories, U-Haul Manager of Media & Public Relation Jeff Lockridge said he won't have a statement until U-Haul staff are done investigating the apparent violation of Zoller's privacy.

There are several facets of this situation, including the leaked customer information you referenced, that our teams are still investigating.

The City of Louisville paid Taylor's family $12 million to settle their wrongful death lawsuit, and has agreed to institute changes in police procedures shown inadequate in the botched drug raid that resulted in Taylor being killed in her own apartment when police were trying to find her ex-boyfriend, who was not on the premises.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes thegatewaypundit.com as:

A partisan conservative website that regularly publishes hoaxes, conspiracy theories, and unsubstantiated claims, including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

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  Dean Miller

Lead Stories staff writer Dean Miller has edited daily and weekly newspapers, worked as a reporter for more than a decade and is co-author of two non-fiction books. After a one-year Harvard Nieman Fellowship, he served as Director of Stony Brook University’s Center for News Literacy for six years. As Senior Vice President/Content at Connecticut Public Broadcasting, a dual licensee, he oversaw radio, TV and print journalists, and documentary producers. He moved west to teach journalism at Western Washington University, edit The Port Townsend Leader and write the twice-weekly Save The Free Press column for the Seattle Times. Miller won the 2007 national Mirror Award for news industry coverage and he led the team that won the 2005 Scripps Howard first amendment prize. 

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