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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke June 4, 2020

Only one of the sites in these photos was damaged during demonstrations, and it was a bathroom

If Your Time is short

  • Facebook posts sharing photos of damaged cemeteries and war memorials claim they were vandalized during demonstrations over George Floyd’s death, but only one is from this year. 
  • The image of a recently vandalized building in Lafayette Square, in Washington D.C., was of a bathroom, not a war memorial.
 

Recent social media posts showing photos of destruction blame demonstrators for disrespecting war memorials and cemeteries. 

"I just don’t understand," reads a June 1 Facebook post showing rows of white crosses with American flags planted in the grass and many lying scattered across the ground. 

"A picture of graffiti at another sacred place," the post says about an image of a building with expletives and "Amerikkka!" painted on the side. "It speaks volumes."

In comments, the poster said the photos were from Arlington National Cemetery, the Oklahoma City National Memorial and an unknown "combat vet memorial." 

Another Facebook post shows the same photo of crosses, a photo of a cracked memorial to Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a deceased U.S. Navy SEAL, and a wall of names with graffiti over them.

"When is enough, enough, before We The People fight back against Soros funded AntiFU, BLMs and other radical groups that hate our nation for profit?" the June 2 post says. "Pure Evil. These men and women died so that those thugs could be free and this is how they show their gratitude. It sickens me. Arlington Memorial Cemetery, Washington D.C."

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

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Here’s why: None of these photos are from the Arlington National Cemetery, and all but one are from previous years, unrelated to the protests that started over George Floyd’s death after a police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck.

Let’s take these one by one. 

The photo of the fallen crosses is from May 2016, when a man in Henderson, Ky., was accused of driving a car through a Memorial Day display in the city’s Central Park. The man, who reportedly said he was intoxicated at the time, was convicted the following year. 

The second photo is an AFP image taken by Daniel Slim. The graffiti was "left by demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd" in Lafayette Square, according to the caption. The building is not a memorial; a spokesperson for the U.S. Park Police told PolitiFact it was a public bathroom.

The cracked memorial to Murphy, who was killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2005, was vandalized in July 2018. A teenage boy was arrested after the stone engraved with Murphy’s image was found smashed at a lake on New York’s Long Island, Stars and Stripes reported at the time.  

And, finally, that image of graffiti covering rows of names? It’s a Vietnam memorial in Venice, Calif., that was vandalized in 2016.

We rate these Facebook posts False.

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Only one of the sites in these photos was damaged during demonstrations, and it was a bathroom

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