FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show Former Minneapolis Cop Derek Chauvin Wearing A ‘Make Whites Great Again’ Hat?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

An image shared on Facebook claims the man pictured wearing a “Make Whites Great Again” hat is Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was videotaped kneeling on the neck of George Floyd.

Verdict: False

The man pictured wearing the hat is Jonathan Lee Riches, not Chauvin. Riches confirmed that he is the man in the photo but claims the hat and hand have been superimposed into it.

Fact Check:

Chauvin and three other Minneapolis police officers were fired after a video surfaced of Chauvin kneeling on the neck of a black man, even after the man, Floyd, repeatedly said he could not breathe. Floyd later died at a hospital.

Amid the national outcry over Floyd’s death, social media users started sharing on May 27 a real photo of Chauvin juxtaposed with another picture of a man wearing a “Make Whites Great Again” hat. They claim the picture on the right also shows the former Minneapolis police officer.

“This is the Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin that killed #GeorgeFloyd wearing a custom made hat that says, ‘Make Whites Great Again,'” reads one Facebook post that has since been deleted.

The picture also has circulated widely on Twitter, where it has been labeled “manipulated media.”

The man pictured on the right is not Chauvin, but rather Riches, an internet troll and former federal inmate known for posting misleading photos online and filing thousands of lawsuits, per the Washington Post.

Riches confirmed in a Facebook message to the Daily Caller News Foundation that it is him in the photo, but claimed that the hat and the hand, which appears to be forming the OK sign that has been used by white supremacists, have been digitally inserted into the image.

“That is a photoshopped hat that I have no idea who did,” Riches told the DCNF. “I think the Hand is photoshopped too.” (RELATED: Does This Photo Show Gov Kemp Posing With Gregory McMichael?)

Riches was unable to provide the original picture. It was first posted to Riches’ wall by a Facebook user who claims to be one of Riches’ relatives, and other Facebook users have shared screen grabs of it, according to Snopes. The background and style of the photo being shared online appear to match others found on Riches’ Facebook page.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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