Lancaster, a city in southeastern Pennsylvania, became the latest city to experience racial unrest following the fatal shooting of a man by police on Sunday.
But the narrative that was circulated on social media in the immediate aftermath of the tragic incident was completely incongruent with the facts in the case, which were made public when Lancaster police released bodycam footage from the officer who fired the fatal shots.
What was the narrative?
Social media posts claimed that police had killed an autistic teenager who was unarmed.
The claims triggered the same cycle of unrest that many American cities have experienced this summer: Tense confrontations with police, which become violent, resulting in the destruction of property and looting.
Content Warning: The following video contains strong language:
#LancasterPA police car gets windshield busted, in protest against police shooting of unarmed autistic 14 year old… https://t.co/dHRZmv4qne— PunishedSerb (@PunishedSerb)1600040696.0
However, the social media claims, it turned out, were far from true.
What is the truth?
According to the Lancaster Police, officers responded to a domestic disturbance Sunday afternoon. When officers made contact with the individuals involved, a man began chasing one of the officers with a knife. The officer responded by firing his weapon, striking and killing the man.
Police said the deceased person was not a teenager — but rather a 27-year-old man.
The Lancaster Police said in a statement:
The first officer on the scene walked to the front of the residence and made contact with a woman, who was identified as a family member. A male subject then exited the front door of the residence and began chasing the officer. Preliminary information and body worn camera footage indicates that the male subject had a knife in his right hand as he was chasing the officer. The officer fired several shots from his firearm, striking the subject. The subject, identified as 27 year old Lancaster man, did not survive his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Later in the evening, as the false claims circulated on social media, police released the officer's bodycam footage, confirming the deceased man did, in fact, chase the responding officer in a threatening manner with a knife.
Content warning: The following video contains footage some viewers might find disturbing.
Officer Involved Shooting 300 blk. Laurel St. Body Camera Video 9/13/2020 youtu.be
Lancaster Police said the local district attorney is now investigating the incident to determine whether lethal force was legally justifiable in the case.
The man killed by police was later identified as Ricardo Munoz, the Associated Press reported.