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Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher June 8, 2020

No evidence of fire or burned horses after truck drives through Tulsa protest

If Your Time is short

  • There is no evidence that any fire occurred when a truck towing a horse trailer drove through a crowd of protesters at a demonstration in Tulsa, Okla., in connection with the death of George Floyd.

  • Police haven’t released further details pending an investigation.

As demonstrations over George Floyd’s death in police custody consumed much of the nation’s attention, a Facebook post alleged that protesters at one demonstration committed an atrocity against animals with fire.

The post included a photo of someone throwing an object that is smoking at what appears to be a horse trailer being pulled by a pickup truck.

"Facebook keeps deleting this," the post claimed. "These ‘peaceful’ protestors burned these horses to death. Don’t let yourselves be censored by the media ... I will probably get thrown (in) Facebook jail for this but I don’t really care."

The June 1 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 incident in question occurred May 31 when a protest through closed streets in Tulsa, Okla., moved onto Interstate 244.

The Tulsa World reported

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"Protesters reportedly let a black woman drive through on the interstate, but when a white man in a pickup towing a horse trailer tried to follow, they blocked his path. A Tulsa World photographer captured a still image of the truck’s driver placing a handgun on his dashboard for demonstrators to see." 

At least two protesters suffered minor injuries as the truck drove through the crowd, the World reported.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is still investigating the incident and is not releasing any details, spokeswoman Sarah Stewart told PolitiFact on June 6.

Video from the incident shows protesters throwing items at the truck and trailer, pounding their fists on the vehicles and jumping onto the trailer as it moved through the crowd. It’s not possible to see into the trailer. 

The person with the smoking object threw it over the trailer, not into it. The side of the trailer that the person was on did not appear to have any open windows. There is no sign of any fire in that video or in a longer video that is posted with a Tulsa World news story.

Video from a live report from KTUL-TV shows that after passing through the crowd, the truck pulled over briefly where highway troopers were stationed.

Our ruling

A Facebook post says protesters burned horses to death in a vehicle that drove through a crowd of protesters. Without any evidence of fire, we rate the Facebook post False.


Our Sources

Facebook, post (archived here), June 1, 2020

Tulsa World, "OHP investigating but releasing few details after truck drove through protesters on Tulsa interstate," Tulsa World June 2, 2020

YouTube, KTUL-TV report, June 2, 2020

Tulsa People, "Scenes from Sunday's Black Lives Matter rally and protests," Jun 2, 2020, "Horse Trailer Pushes Through Black Lives Matter Protest In Tulsa, Two Hospitalized," June 2, 2020 

Facebook, video, May 31, 2020

Facebook, post, June 1, 2020

Email, Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokeswoman Sarah Stewart, June 6, 2020

Sapulpa Times, "Video: Reports of Sapulpa man injuring horses at Tulsa protest may not be correct," June 2, 2020

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No evidence of fire or burned horses after truck drives through Tulsa protest

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