In late September, after a grand jury declined to charge two Louisville police officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, protesters immediately took to the streets. Almost as quickly, conservative news outlets and social-media accounts peddling misinformation pushed a false story claiming that members of the left-wing antifa movement had distributed shields, weapons, and black bloc gear to use during the protests.
Now, similar misinformation is circulating among Facebook users in Miami — and local police departments are dispelling the rumors.
Today, several Facebook users posted unsupported claims that Black Lives Matter and antifa demonstrators are renting U-Hauls and hotel rooms near Miami International Airport.
"No matter who wins the Presidency," the posts say, "they plan on protesting, burning & even killing in RESIDENTIAL areas!!"
The posts claim the "National Guards" have leaked the information and warn residents to be on alert and "prepared for the worst."
"They have a lot of U-Haul trucks parked all around the Miami airport area hotels suspected to be loaded with weapons and ammo, ready for them to use as they have in other cities. Without a search warrant though, nobody can look into them, but the Intel is there," the posts state.
This afternoon, the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) posted a flyer from the Homeland Security Bureau's Southeast Florida Fusion Center (SEFFC), saying that the agency had received tips about threats to local gas stations, supply stores, and grocery stores. MDPD assured residents that the threats are unfounded.
"Miami Dade-Police Department, Homeland Security Bureau, as well as federal partners, have vetted these incoming tips and have concluded that, at this time, there is no credible threat of planned attacks," the flyer states. "The SEFFC will continue to monitor open source activity and vet all incoming tips."
The Miami Springs Police Department also tweeted that the posts about Black Lives Matter and antifa plotting attacks in Miami are false.
A post on social media stating hotel rooms &— Miami Springs Police (@MiamiSpringsPD) November 3, 2020
U-hauls are being rented around the airport so they can be used after the elections to cause destruction. The information has been vetted by both local & federal authorities. It's been concluded the threat is not credible at this time.
The recurring myth that "outside agitators" and out-of-town protesters descend on cities to cause destruction most recently gained traction after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. During this summer's protests, even Miami leaders falsely blamed some of the property damage and looting on outside agitators.
Although authorities in Miami say there's no evidence of planned attacks tonight, police departments across the United States are preparing for the potential of post-election violence.
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