A video shows 'child militia' members deployed during protests in Atlanta.
During the waves of protests in American cities following the May 2020 police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a video posted via social media purported to show that “Atlanta has deployed a child militia at Lenox Mall fitted with riot shields and batons”:
Atlanta has deployed a child militia at Lenox Mall fitted with riot shields and batons. What the actual fuck is going on? pic.twitter.com/zTtmw5mDTN
— Fox Wound (@foxwoundband) May 30, 2020
The Atlanta Police Department confirmed that the uniformed persons with riot shields pictured in the video were members of the Georgia National Guard, and both entities confirmed that the video depicted only adult members of the latter organization who were “all of eligible age to join.”
A Georgia National Guard spokesperson affirmed that “the rumors of underage Georgia Guardsmen are false,” and that “The rumors of us having child Soldiers to assist local law enforcement in protecting lives and property is false.”
The minimum age for Georgia Guardsmen is 18 (or 17 with parents’ consent):
To become a service member
in the Georgia National Guard you are required to be of legal age and that is 18 years old (17 with parents consent). The rumors of us having child Soldiers to assist local law enforcement in protecting lives and property is false. pic.twitter.com/9Eyf1qkdaJ
— GA National Guard (@GeorgiaGuard) May 30, 2020
Camera angle and distance, as well as the fact that some of the pictured Guardsmen were standing on surfaces of different height, combined to create a perception of persons seemingly too physically small to be of requisite age.