FACT CHECK: Does This Footage Show Military Helicopters Flying Over DC In January?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook purportedly shows several helicopters flying over Washington, D.C. on Jan. 15 in preparation for President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Verdict: False

The footage was first posted on TikTok on Jan. 7. License plates visible in an April 2020 video that the TikTok user appears to have taken at the same event indicates it was not filmed in the U.S.

Fact Check:

Over 25,000 National Guardsmen were deployed to D.C. to help bolster security for Biden’s inauguration following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, NBC 4 Washington reported. Other security measures were put in place in the city, including shutting down several roads, after the FBI warned of threats, according to the outlet.

The Jan. 15 Facebook post shares a video showing several helicopters flying above a road followed by additional rotored aircraft. “I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is a little bit of overkill preparing for some people who broke windows last week,” the caption of the video reads, seemingly referencing the extra security precautions put in place for Biden’s inauguration.

The video, however, does not show a scene in D.C. on Jan. 15. The footage was actually first posted by a TikTok user with the username @jaymb1719 on Jan. 7. In the comments section of the video, the user stated that the footage is two years old and shows a 2018 airshow in Denmark. (RELATED: Viral Post Claims The Marine Corps Refused Nancy Pelosi’s Request For Troops For Inauguration Security)

The TikTok user @jaymb1719 also previously posted a video on TikTok in April 2020 that appears to have been filmed at the same location as the video in the Facebook post. The helicopters, as well as a bus parked in the same position, can be seen in the April 2020 video. In that video, a car with a European-style license plate can be seen pulling out onto the road, indicating the footage was taken outside the U.S.

Due to the low video quality, Check Your Fact could not definitively discern which specific country the license plate comes from. We rate this claim false.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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