Facts Matter: Chauvin's hand not in pocket while pinning Floyd

  • Derek Chauvin

    Derek Chauvin

Posted4/25/2021 5:30 AM

A false claim that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his left hand in his pocket while kneeling on George Floyd's neck began circulating on the internet shortly after Floyd's death last May.

The claim gained recent traction on social media during the three-week trial that ended with Chauvin convicted of murdering Floyd.


The image of Chauvin pinning Floyd to the ground was from a video taken at the scene by teenage witness Darnella Frazier. In that screen grab, it appears Chauvin has a hand in his pocket, and social media users pushed that narrative.

"If George Floyd were resisting, Chauvin's hands wouldn't have been in his pockets," read a social media post that was shared more than 700 times this month.

During the trial, prosecution witness Genevieve Hansen said, "In my memory, (Chauvin) had his hand in his pocket, he looked so comfortable."

But Chauvin's hand was outside his pocket. In the image, he is wearing black gloves and dark pants with his knuckles on his thigh, making it appear his hand is in his pocket.

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USA Today enhanced the exposure, brightness and vibrancy of the photo to show Chauvin's bent fingers against his thigh.

The nearly 10-minute video the image was taken from shows Chauvin's left hand in various positions, but not in his pocket, according to PolitiFact.com. Chauvin, wearing black gloves, can be seen placing his hand on his radio and the holster on his belt.

Biden didn't talk to Floyd's son

During the trial of Derek Chauvin, a photo of President Joe Biden speaking to a young boy was the subject of a social media post.

"U.S. President Joe Biden kneels down to beg George Floyd's son for forgiveness," read a Facebook post that included a photo of Biden, on one knee, talking to a child as they both are wearing face masks.

The image is genuine, according to The Associated Press, but the claim is not.


The photo was taken by Getty Images photographer Chip Somodevilla on Sept. 9 in Detroit. Biden, who was campaigning in Michigan, got down on one knee during a conversation with C.J. Brown. The youngster's father, Clement Brown Jr, owns the Detroit clothing store Three Thirteen, and Biden had reportedly stopped in to shop for his grandchildren. C.J.'s grandfather Clement Brown can also be seen in the photo.

Floyd, who died last year, is survived by five children and six siblings, the AP said.

Japan's PM not in MAGA hat

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga visited the White House on April 16, the first world leader to do so since Joe Biden became president.

A video recently posted to social media shows Suga wearing what appears to be a red "Make America Great Again" hat and holding a "Trump 2024" sign during a meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris.

"Greatest thing I've seen in a long time. Leader of Japan meeting in The White House with Kamala Harris holding a Trump sign," wrote a Facebook user who posted the video.

But it didn't happen, according to PolitiFact.com.

The video has been altered to add the red cap and Trump campaign sign.

In the video, Harris gives remarks before a meeting with Biden as Suga moves and gestures. But there are times in the manipulated video where the red hat is moving in a different direction than Suga's head.

Gaetz photo is fake

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is facing a House Ethics Committee investigation based on accusations of illegal drug use and sexual misconduct. Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing.

A photo purportedly showing the congressman in high school, sporting a blond mullet and a black tuxedo, has been making the rounds on social media.

"Any time Matt Gaetz tweets just respond with his senior photo," one Facebook user wrote while forwarding the image.

But it's not an authentic photo, according to USA Today. Gaetz's face has been digitally added to a photo that first showed up in 2011 on Reddit with the caption, "Business on the top, party on the sides."

The doctored photo appeared in a post from the Twitter account FakeJoeBiden. It's since received nearly 22,000 likes and has been retweeted over 5,000 times.

Gaetz spokesperson Harlan Hill told USA Today the photo is as fake "as the allegations against Rep. Gaetz -- that is to say 100% made up."

The Northwest Florida Daily News website, in a section titled "Congressman Matt Gaetz through the years," has a photo of Gaetz in 2000, the year he graduated from high school, with short hair, not a blond mullet.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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