FACT CHECK: Do These Images Show The Black Panthers Attacking A Church In The US?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

Images shared on Facebook purportedly show members of the Black Panthers attacking a church in the U.S.

Verdict: False

None of the images show members of the Black Panthers damaging or attacking a church in the U.S. Three of the images show an anti-government protest in Chile, while the fourth shows a protest in favor of removing a Confederate monument near Atlanta, Georgia.

Fact Check:

The post includes four images: the first shows a person wearing black standing with a statue of Mary, the second shows two show people wearing black standing with what looks like a damaged statue of Jesus, the third photo shows a group of people wearing all black carrying rifles while walking down a street and the last juxtaposes a picture of a fire burning in front of what appears to be a church and a cropped version of the second photo in the series.

“ATTACK OF CHURCH IN USA BY BLACK PANTHERS,” reads the post’s caption. “They re destroying all church’s in the USA with white statues of JESUS and MARY because they believe it is the origin of evil and racism.” (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show Barack Obama In A Black Panther Uniform)

None of the images, however, show members of the Black Panthers attacking churches. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found the first photo in the post on Shutterstock with a caption that reads, “Anti-government protests continue in Chile, Santiago.” It is dated Nov. 8, 2019. At the time, Chilean citizens were protesting the government over economic inequality across the country, according to The New York Times.

The second photo is featured in a Nov. 10, 2019 article from Prensa Libre, a Guatemalan newspaper, that explains it shows rioters destroying and looting a church in Santiago, Chile, called “la parroquia La Asunción.” The same image can also be found in a November 2019 report from Chilean news outlet Radio Cooperativa that likewise identifies the vandalized church as “Parroquia de la Asunción” in Santiago, Chile.

The photo showing a large group of people clad in black carrying rifles walking down a road appears to be from a July 2020 march by a Black militia group through Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park. Check Your Fact found a similar image included in a July 2020 Instagram post that also includes several other images with a caption that indicates they were taken at the protest at Stone Mountain Park. A group of Black protesters were calling for the Stone Mountain memorial, an enormous stone carving that commemorates the Confederacy located near Atlanta, Georgia, to be removed, according to Reuters. Photos and videos from the event show a similar scene as the one visible in the Facebook image.

The last image of the fire burning in front of the church also appears to be from the anti-government protests in Santiago in November 2019. It was included in a November 2019 article from RPP Noticias, a Peruvian news outlet, that profiles the destruction in Chile’s capital city. “The protesters burned the furniture in the church of La Asunción, located in the center of Santiago de Chile,” reads a translated version of the image’s caption. The image can also be found in a November 2019 article from En Son Haber, a Turkish news outlet, that discusses the riots in the city.

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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