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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke May 29, 2020

If Your Time is short

  • Different edits of the same video recording support rival perspectives. The Gateway Pundit says the video shows “savage animals” attacking a woman in a wheelchair. Other accounts say it was the woman who stabbed black protesters.

Video footage shows a melee outside of a Target in Minneapolis involving a white woman in a wheelchair and black protesters. In some edits of the videos the white woman appears to be a victim. 

In others, the black demonstrators claim she is attacking them.

What we know is that the incident started during demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against the black man’s neck. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired and charged with third-degree murder.

As far as the videos of the fracas, there remain more questions than answers. 

Video footage posted on Facebook shows us broad strokes of violence without immediately making clear what the truth is here. In a series of clips, we see the woman in the wheelchair being collared by a black woman amid screaming and someone repeatedly yelling, "no." A black woman hitting the white woman in the head. Someone spraying the white woman with what looks like a fire extinguisher. Someone off camera saying: "Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer, is that enough?" The white woman throwing something at the crowd gathered around her. That woman claiming that "the looters who were looting Target" attacked her while she was "peacefully protesting." 

"I got punched in the head several times," she says. "They stole everything they could off of me." She adds that she used her wheelchair to block the door to Target, and that she had a knife, which sliced the arm of a woman behind her.

On May 27, the Gateway Pundit wrote that "savage animals looting in Minneapolis violently attack disabled lady in a wheelchair." 

Other accounts on the incident say something different was happening. 

"Racist woman in wheelchair pretending to be an ally claims she was stabbed by black men but was actually recorded stabbing black men," one Instagram post, with different edits of video, says. The posts say the woman antagonized the protesters and stabbed them with a knife.

We don’t know enough to tease out what’s really happening. But different edits of this same recording highlight how it’s being wielded to support rivaling perspectives. With this version without sound, someone tweets: "Disabled white woman attacked by a mob of black people." 

But that angle, another Twitter user said, "is the racism a lot of white people will use in the coming days." 

"In the original video you find out this women had a knife and was stabbing people," the account says. "But they are muting this video so they can make it seem like a group of black people attacked a disabled woman for no reason." The account posts the other version of the video, with sound, in which people can be heard yelling that "Jennifer" is stabbing people.

Yet another tweet casts doubt on whether the woman even needs a wheelchair. 

The confusion comes as people peddle misinformation about Floyd’s death online. Among the false claims? That Floyd’s death was staged, that a photo shows Chauvin wearing a "Make Whites Great Again" hat, and that another photo shows him on stage with President Donald Trump. 

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Our Sources

The New York Times, George Floyd updates: former Minneapolis officer is charged with murder, updated May 29, 2020

The Nationalist Review, Video: Minneapolis rioters beat and rob disabled woman, then frame her as the violent one, May 28, 2020

The Gateway Pundit, Savage animals looting in Minneapolis violently attack disabled lady in wheelchair, May 27, 2020

Instagram post, May 28, 2020

Facebook post, May 28, 2020

The New York Post, George Floyd protesters attack woman in wheelchair who allegedly had knife, May 28, 2020

Tweet, May 27, 2020

Tweet, May 27, 2020

Tweet, May 28, 2020

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The conflicting stories about a woman in a wheelchair in the middle of Minneapolis protests