There is an article spreading at a ridiculous rate of speed across social media, titled “Black Teen Shot After Police Mistake Hoverboard For Machine Gun.” As seen in the below graph from Lead Stories, the “Black Teen Shot After Police Mistake Hoverboard For Machine Gun” article received 29,000 Facebook likes by Tuesday, July 12 at 9:22 a.m. ET.
On Monday, July 11 at 8:06 p.m. ET, the article titled “Black Teen Shot After Police Mistake Hoverboard For Machine Gun” had 1,200 Facebook shares — therefore, overnight the article took off in popularity.
The question is: Was a black teen really shot by police in Gary, Indiana? Did a police officer named Sam Gatling — also a supposed member of the KKK — shoot and kill a black teen because Gatling thought the young man’s hoverboard was a machine gun?
The clues that the story about the black teen being shot by a police officer who was also a KKK member is a hoax can first be found in the mistakes in the article. First off, the common misspelling of “Klu” instead of “Ku” is the first clue that this article is a hoax.
“The all too ridiculous contraption known as the Hoverboard lead [sic] to an all-too familiar tragedy in Gary, Indiana, this week after Gary police officer and Grand Dragon of the local chapter of the Klu Klux Klan [sic] mistook a black teenager’s Hoverboard for a machine gun.”
As reported by Lead Stories, the name of the black teen who was allegedly shot by a police officer was also left out of the article, which is another big clue that the article is a work of fiction. With racial tensions across the country experiencing a surge due to recent shooting deaths by police in Baton Rouge and Minnesota, combined with the tragic killings of police in Dallas, the website that published the story is obviously trying to capitalize on emotions running high around such matters.
“The officer, identified as Officer Sam Gatling says the teen was holding the Hoverboard in a manner that a person would hold an assault rifle and was asked repeatedly to put it down and refused to comply. He spoke with the press yesterday to address the allegations that the incident was fueled by racism. Gatling stated, ‘Truly, this is a tragedy, but I assure you that Gary Police protocol was followed from the very beginning. Any black male with anything that looks suspicious is to be treated as a potential threat. It’s in the book.'”
The article goes on to claim that Gatling denied claims of racism — with claims that the KKK is no longer racist. Such outrageous claims in an article that states a police officer shot a black teen — a cop who admits to being a KKK member — would automatically make it the type of article that would outrage people and cause them to want to share it en masse online.
On Facebook, the article can be discovered with thousands of shares and hundreds of Facebook comments and reactions on some popular accounts.
“There’s a lot of people that say that because I am a KKK member that this incident was fueled by racism. I assure you that I was merely doing my job as a police officer which has never been affected by my relationship with the order of the Klu Klux Klan [sic] which is no longer a racist organization it’s strictly to uplift the white race we don’t hate blacks.”
However, the article includes a photo that shows Miami-Dade County signage on a police car — not Gary, Indiana, signage. As noted by Lead Stories, the article only appears on the fake news websites, including Huzlers, Celebtricity, and TMZUncut.
With claims that the police officer who shot the black teen carrying only a hoverboard and not a machine had been placed on paid leave pending an investigation, the article has no publication date. There is also apparently no KKK location in Gary, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
As seen in the top photo above, anti-KKK protesters bowed their heads as Members of the World Order of the Ku Klux Klan, in the rear, rallied on Saturday, September 2, 2006, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
[Photo by Daniel Shanken/AP Images]