Fact check: Multiple baseless claims about the death of George Floyd

A Facebook post about the death of George Floyd, with over 1,700 shares as of June 12 contains several inaccurate claims. The death of Floyd - an unarmed black man who was killed after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck - has triggered protests across the United States and around the world.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

This fact check will focus on nine inaccurate statements, though this is not an exhaustive list of inaccuracies within the lengthy post (here). Some additional inaccurate claims relating to Floyd’s death and to the actions of the police and emergency services have been addressed in a previous fact-checking article  here  .

1. “Someone sent me a message saying that the family of George Floyd was offered $25 million for exclusive photos of him in a casket or pictures of him dead during an autopsy and they turned it down. Has anyone else heard anything like this or something similar?”

There is no evidence that the family of George Floyd was offered this payment.

2. “Kind of weird that he had a closed casket.”

There was an open casket for George Floyd at a public visitation in his hometown of Houston on June 8 ( here ,  here ). A memorial service for Floyd in Minneapolis on June 4 did not feature an open casket (here). 

3. “Kind of weird that the officer doesn’t even look like the same man in the mugshot.”

A widely shared conspiracy theory ( here ,  here ) claims that the man charged with the murder of George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, appears to be a different person in officially released mug shots. Many versions make claims about the appearance of Chauvin’s ears and hairline. The claims are unfounded. The officially released mug shots show Derek Chauvin.  

4. “Kind of weird that Floyd and the officer were both freemasons.”

The post provided no evidence for this claim.

5. “Kind of weird that the officer stood on his neck for 7-9 minutes while people were so called video recording this and also weird that not one of those people tried to help the Floyd.”

In video taken at the scene and shared on social media several bystanders can be heard asking Chauvin to remove his knee from George Floyd’s neck (here) and repeatedly warning the police that Floyd could not breathe.  

6. “Kind of weird that instead of a real ambulance and emt workers there were sheriffs or other officers wearing bulletproof vests that put Floyd into the ambulance.”

The emergency medical service (EMS) workers seen in the video filmed by a bystander (here) are from the Hennepin Healthcare EMS team. Their uniform is brown (here) and looks similar in style to some uniforms worn by U.S. sheriff departments.  

7. “VERY weird that upon arrival the so called emts didn’t try ANY KIND of life saving procedures whatsoever.”

The Hennepin Healthcare Emergency Medical Services (EMS) head suggested in an interview that EMS workers could save time by treating a patient in an ambulance instead of unloading all relevant medical equipment (here).

8. “VERY weird that if he was dead upon the emts arrival they didnt block the area off to let internal investigations come to investigate the CRIME SCENE of a police related homicide which is standard protocol.”

The time of death of George Floyd was recorded as 9.25 p.m. (here), almost an hour after paramedics had moved him from the scene (here).   

9. “VERY VERY VERY weird that 3 days later the SAME EXACT thing happens in Paris causing riots and protests there.... Even weirder than that is the fact that 2 days after the Paris incident and 5 days after the Floyd incident the same exact thing happened in Madrid Spain kicking off yet another round of protests and riots.”

No comparable incident occurred in Paris three days after George Floyd’s death. However on June 2 police in Paris banned a demonstration planned in memory of Adama Traore, a 24-year old black Frenchman who died in a 2016 police operation (here). There is no evidence of a comparable event taking place in Madrid five days after George Floyd’s death. Protests took place in Madrid in March 2018 following the death of a street vendor during an encounter with police (here). Both incidents have been cited in some analysis of George Floyd’s death. 


False. The text of this widely shared post about the death of George Floyd and the protests sparked by his death contains multiple inaccurate statements.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts (here