First Responders

Fake Tweets — Like This One About the Chicago PD — Make Life Harder for Cops

April 28, 2021Joshua Skovlund
police chauvin fake tweet, fake news

A fake tweet circulated that appeared to be from the Chicago Police. Composite image by Joshua Skovlund/Coffee or Die Magazine.

A fake image circulated on Twitter this week that appeared to show the official Chicago Police Department Twitter account making a statement in solidarity with former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The image, appearing to be a screenshot of a tweet from the CPD’s official account, read, “We are all Derek Chauvin,” over a picture of Chauvin from his trial for the murder of George Floyd. The fake tweet rapidly spread on social media, while tensions were already high in Chicago following the police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo on March 29.

The viral misinformation has garnered more than 500 comments, 230,000 likes, and 50,000 retweets from one posting and probably far more from other reposts. CPD responded to Coffee or Die Magazine’s inquiry about the onslaught of comments bashing the department with a statement that misinformation “puts our officers and communities at risk by widening the gap in trust that we are working so hard to build, bridge and restore.”

The department tweeted later that Twitter was refusing to take the fake tweet down.

After George Floyd’s murder at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, nationwide protests and riots unfolded in many major cities, causing upwards of $1 billion in damages. 

For most of April, tensions have run high between police and protest movements, as shootings in Chicago, Illinois; Brooklyn Center, Minnesota; Columbus, Ohio; and Elizabeth City, North Carolina, drew national attention. 

The Chauvin verdict was widely praised by police leaders and resulted in relatively calm post-verdict protests. LAPD Chief Michel Moores response, below, was far more typical of police departments than any pro-Chauvin rhetoric would be, judging by responses to the Chauvin verdict by police departments such as those in New York City and Wichita, Kansas.

“Justice has been served,” New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted after the Chauvin verdict was delivered. “NYPD will be out tonight to ensure that peaceful demonstrations have the ability to proceed safely.”

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay responded to the verdict as well, tweeting, “Justice prevailed today in the reprehensible actions of the Minneapolis police officer. The Wichita Police Department is committed to continuous improvement in collaboration with our community. We care.”

And Minneapolis’ Chief Medaria Arradondo released a statement following the verdict, saying, “I want to acknowledge and thank the jurors on this case for their immense responsibility and honorable civic duty. The verdict has been read and I respect the process and the decision.”

Social-media-viral misinformation has led to violence against police before. In August, Minneapolis police released video that showed a male murder suspect commit suicide when confronted by police. Before the video was released, claims circulated on social media that MPD officers had shot and killed the man. Peaceful demonstrations in response to George Floyd’s death gave way to looting and riots as the incorrect information spread. Several MPD officers were hurt, with one hospitalized after a rioter hit him in the head with a heavy trash-can lid.

Read Next: Calm After Chauvin Verdict; Portland Activists Call Out ‘Predatory Opportunists’

Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund has covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis that followed the death of George Floyd. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he earned his CrossFit Level 1 certificate and worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. He went on to work in paramedicine for more than five years, much of that time in the North Minneapolis area, before transitioning to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children. His creative outlets include Skovlund Photography and Concentrated Emotion, where he publishes poetry focused on his life experiences.

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