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The dome of the U.S. Capitol is visible as a sign that reads "Black Lives Matter" hangs on an overpass on North Capitol Street in Washington on June 2, 2020. (AP) The dome of the U.S. Capitol is visible as a sign that reads "Black Lives Matter" hangs on an overpass on North Capitol Street in Washington on June 2, 2020. (AP)

The dome of the U.S. Capitol is visible as a sign that reads "Black Lives Matter" hangs on an overpass on North Capitol Street in Washington on June 2, 2020. (AP)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher August 7, 2020

No proof that Black Lives Matter killed 36 people, injured 1,000 police officers

If Your Time is short

  • We found no evidence that the toll from protests against police brutality is as high as the numbers in the post. The U.S. Justice Department told us it does not have numbers on officer injuries or property damage resulting from civil disturbances.

  • Black Lives Matter protests attract not only BLM members but supporters and opponents, making it difficult to assign blame to BLM for particular incidents.

Some Facebook commenters focused on professional sports leagues’ support of Black Lives Matter when they read this Facebook post:

"BLM injures 1000 police officers kills 36 people and does $8 billion in damage and gets celebrated by pro sports?"

We focused on the rest, and found that the biggest problem with the post, leaving aside the numbers claimed, is the lack of proof that Black Lives Matter caused the violence that is claimed. 

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The numbers claimed

The latest flareup of protests against police brutality began May 26 in Minneapolis, where the previous day, George Floyd, a Black man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck. As we reported two weeks after the protests began, a review of demonstrations in five major cities found that all of the protests started with violence, but then became largely peaceful.

As for the numbers claimed in the post, the U.S. Justice Department told us it does not have figures on officer injuries or property damage resulting from civil disturbances, and the FBI said it had no comment. There are scattered news reports that don’t entirely back up each part of the claim, and we found no official figures.

Officers injured: The New York Post reported on June 8, citing the U.S. Justice Department, that more than 700 law enforcement officers were injured on the job during nationwide protests over Floyd’s death. 

People killed: In early June, news accounts reported the number of people killed during the Floyd protests at roughly a dozen, or as many as 19. The victims include a 77-year-old man who was a retired St. Louis police captain and a 22-year-old woman from Davenport, Iowa.

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Damage caused: In late June, Fox News reported that according to insurance experts and city officials, the Floyd protests could eclipse the 1992 Los Angeles riots to become the most expensive civil disturbance in U.S. history. The 1992 riots, which followed the acquittal of four police officers in the beating of Rodney King, cost $1.4 billion in 2020 dollars, according to the report, which did not give a specific damage estimate for the Floyd protests. A spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute told Scripps National News that "most likely" the Floyd protest "would lead to higher losses," but did not provide an estimate either.

Black Lives Matter didn’t respond to our requests for comment. 

Difficult to flatly blame BLM

There is a Black Lives Matter national organization, which says it has more than a dozen U.S. chapters, along with countless numbers of individuals who support the organization. 

As the New York Times reported July 3, four recent polls "suggest that about 15 million to 26 million people in the United States have participated in demonstrations over the death of George Floyd and others in recent weeks. These figures would make the recent protests the largest movement in the country’s history, according to interviews with scholars and crowd-counting experts."

There are also people who have participated in demonstrations, which have occurred in hundreds of cities, who may have no allegiance to Black Lives Matter, or may even oppose it, and have rioted or committed other acts of violence — making it even more difficult to determine how a violent incident occurred.

What’s more, news coverage of the protests have also included numerous reports that identify law enforcement officers as causing injury to civilians.

In short, there isn’t evidence to back the numbers in the claim or to blame Black Lives Matter for each part of the claim.

Our rating is False.

Our Sources

Facebook, post (archived here), July 25, 2020

Email, Justice Department spokeswoman Lauren Lambert, Aug. 4, 2020

PolitiFact, "Post inflates number of police killed in connection to protests," June 10, 2020 

New York Times, "Black Lives Matter May Be the Largest Movement in U.S. History," July 3, 2020

New York Post, "More than 700 officers injured in George Floyd protests across US," June 8, 2020

Associated Press, "Retired officer, ex-college athlete among victims of unrest," June 2, 2020

Forbes, "14 Days Of Protests, 19 Dead," June 8, 2020 

Fox News, "Deadly unrest: Here are the people who have died amid George Floyd protests across US," June 8, 2020

Fox News, "George Floyd protests could be most expensive civil disturbance in US history, experts say," June 29, 2020

USA Today, "Fact check: More Black people died in 2019 police shootings than in George Floyd protests," June 18, 2020

YouTube, Scripps National News story, June 12, 2020

Email, Manali Basu, public affairs specialist, FBI, Aug. 5, 2020

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No proof that Black Lives Matter killed 36 people, injured 1,000 police officers

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