On May 24, the eve of the two-year anniversary of George Floyd's death, The Washington Post tweeted something rather curious and quite obviously false about his death.
According to the now-deleted tweet, which was up for 40 full minutes and generated plenty of reaction before then, "George Floyd was shot and killed in police custody. His death sparked outrage, wide scale protests and calls to change policing."
In reality, Floyd's cause of death was found to be cardiopulmonary arrest. There was no shooting involved.
As Andy Ngô highlighted over Twitter, and by sharing a post from The Post Millennial's Libby Emmons, The Washington Post also used the same false language in a post to solicit responses from readers on their thoughts about the changes since Floyd's death.
Why don't you explain how you were wrong & apologize? Many people are angry because you use your publication's legacy prestige to bully others over your partisan "fact-checking." Yet when you are inaccurate, this is your non-correction response: https://t.co/Je9O9OVGn9— Andy Ngô ?????? (@MrAndyNgo) May 24, 2022
In trying to solicit reader submissions about police racism, the Washington Post falsely claimed George Floyd was "shot and killed in police custody."— Andy Ngô ?????? (@MrAndyNgo) May 24, 2022
He died of cardiopulmonary arrest & his blood was found to have 11ng/mL of fentanyl. https://t.co/ckJaaEZ04B
In addition to deleting the tweet, The Washington Post issued a subsequent tweet which simply read "Tell The Post: How have things changed in your community since George Floyd's death?" Another tweet in the thread read that "We've deleted a previous tweet for this form that included language that was changed after publish."
We've deleted a previous tweet for this form that included language that was changed after publish.— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 24, 2022
Such vague language still invited scrutiny, from Ngô, and many others.
This is some strange phrasing for "made factual errors."— Firedog, Ph.D. (@DoctorBarkanine) May 24, 2022
Everyone makes mistakes. I make them. I delete tweets. I acknowledge it when I do.— PolitiFact Bias (@PolitiFactBias) May 24, 2022
"Language that changed after publish" is some next-level gaslighting and undeniable dishonesty. https://t.co/a35rHP64fA
Translation: our headline was a lie but we can’t say that https://t.co/3bNHTosxpj— audrey ???? (@audreyy_kaye) May 24, 2022
Ill say, below is the language. If a news outlet gets something THIS wrong on a NATIONWIDE STORY, it should require a very public admission and setting the record straight with people who read that headline and nothing else and now have a complete misconception of reality. https://t.co/2vgyWTbduD pic.twitter.com/O6hfyPFHUY— We, The Acknowledged (@Tonycbk0) May 24, 2022
Former Officer Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd's neck for several minutes, was found guilty in April of last year on all charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd. Last June he received his sentence of 22.5 years. The other officers involved were found guilty in February of civil rights charges related to Floyd's death. Former Officer Thomas Lane pled guilty last week to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.