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As demonstrations against police brutality escalate in size and scope, so is social media misinformation.
On May 31, a website called "W24 News" published an article with a headline that said Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck, committed suicide in his cell.
The headline reads: "Minneapolis Police Officer who killed George Floyd, Derek Chauvin commits suicide in prison cell."
This isn’t true.
The story 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 article says that, on May 31, "John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, announced that Chauvin committed suicide after his arrest in his Minnesota jail cell." It attributed the report to WCCO Minneapolis, a local CBS affiliate news station.
The claim only exists on W24n, a junk news website that has published several hoax stories including one that said President Barack Obama tested positive for the coronavirus.
Chauvin was arrested on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter on May 29 and was originally held at Ramsey County Jail in St. Paul. He was moved on May 31, first to Hennepin County Jail and then to Oak Park Heights prison.
In a press conference that night, Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnells said the transfer wasn’t "uncommon" among high-profile inmates and was made, in part, due to COVID-19 transmission concerns and the anticipation that a large number of people could be booked into the county jail amid the ongoing protests.
We rate this claim Pants on Fire!
W24n News, Minneapolis Police Officer who killed George Floyd, Derek Chauvin commits suicide in prison cell, May 31, 2020
Brainerd Dispatch, WATCH: Minnesota officials provide update late Sunday, May 31, press conference to response on protests, May 31, 2020
WCCO Minneapolis, Accessed June 1, 2020
WCCO Minneapolis, Ex-MPD Officer Derek Chauvin Moved To Second Detention Facility In Same Day Due To COVID-19 Concerns, May 31, 2020
Minnesota Department of Public Safety, NEWS RELEASES, Accessed June 1, 2020
Snopes, Did Derek Chauvin Commit Suicide in Prison?, May 31, 2020
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