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Widely shared photo of black officer protecting racist rally actually from earlier event

A photo being posted online after deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., of a black police officer protecting a white nationalist rally appears to have been from an earlier event.
A photo being posted online after deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., of a black police officer protecting a white nationalist rally appears to have been from an earlier event. Facebook

You’ve probably seen the photo: A uniformed black police officer stands in front of yellow police tape as he protects white nationalists carrying confederate flags and giving Nazi salutes in Charlottesville, Va.

But the undeniably powerful photo, posted widely to Facebook and Twitter in the wake of violent clashes at a gathering of white nationalists in the city Friday and Saturday in which one woman died after being struck by a car and two state police officers died in a helicopter crash, appears to have been from an earlier event.

"Why is this happening?? Why is our government protecting these people??? 🇺🇸 this is the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!" -Madonna

Posted by Madonna on Sunday, August 13, 2017

While not all those posting the photo linked it directly to this weekend’s Charlottesville, Va., protests, it appears the photo in fact originates from an earlier event. Buzzfeed News found a July 9 post containg the photo on Twitter by Tucson, Ariz., Police Chief Chris Magnus.

A July 10 post on Facebook by Kimberly Payne Hawk also includes the photo of the officer, who Hawk identifies as “Officer Nash” of the Charlottesville, Va., police department. Her post was shared 22,000 times and received 17,000 likes.

This photo is powerful. This is Charlottesville Police Officer Nash serving our community and protecting the KKK's...

Posted by Kimberly Payne Hawk on Monday, July 10, 2017

Buzzfeed speculates the photo may have been from a July 8 white supremacist rally, also in Charlottesville. The city also was the site of a May protest by torch-carrying white nationalists.

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