Fact Check

Alton Sterling Killed by Trump Supporter Robert Kinnison

Shortly after Alton Sterling was killed by Baton Rouge police, a rumor appeared on social media that the officer responsible was a Donald Trump supporter whose name is circulated after every high-profile shooting.

Published Jul 6, 2016

Image Via Instagram
Alton Sterling was shot and killed by Louisiana police officer (and Donald Trump supporter) Robert Kinnison.

Shortly after Alton Sterling was killed by police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on 5 July 2016, a rumor started circulating on Twitter that the officer had been identified as Donald Trump supporter Robert Kinnison. Images of Kinnison circulated the social media site, typically accompanied by messages blaming Donald Trump's violent rhetoric for the death of Sterling:


However, Robert Kinnison had nothing to do with Sterling's death. According to his Twitter profile, Kinnison is a "Christian, Conservative, gun rights activist" from Lansing, Michigan. He is not a police officer in Baton Rouge and he did not shoot Sterling:

According to the Wall Street Journalthe officers who were involved in the shooting have not been identified as of 6 July 2016:

Alton Sterling was shot early Tuesday morning outside the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge, according to police. A cellphone video taken by a bystander showed Mr. Sterling, who is black, being subdued by two officers. The footage shows him being held down by a police officer kneeling on top of him, and holding a gun to him. The camera veers away and gunshots are heard.

Baton Rouge police said that officers responded at 12:35 a.m. Tuesday to a report that an armed man who was selling CD’s in the store parking lot threatened the caller with a gun. The officers, who weren't identified, have been placed on administrative leave.

Another, similar hoax was spread at the same time, misidentifying YouTube comedian Sam Hyde as one of the officers involved in Sterling's death.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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