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VERIFY: No, the photo of Houston's mayor, police chief not wearing masks is not from George Floyd rally

The photo implies that Mayor Sylvester Turner and Police Chief Art Acevedo were not wearing masks at a George Floyd rally in downtown.

HOUSTON — There is a claim being shared on social media that Houston’s mayor and police chief did not wear a mask at a march for George Floyd. We dug deep to VERIFY whether the claim was true, or more misinformation was being spread online.

The photo going around social media shows Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo and Mayor Sylvester Turner marching with a group of demonstrators.

The social media post says, “Want to know why there is a sharp rise in COVID cases? Here is your answer. Great leadership by Turner and Acevedo. No mask, no social distancing!”

Robert asked the VERIFY team, “Can you confirm when and where this picture was taken?” 

Our sources for this are the mayor’s office, the Houston Police Department and the Associated Press.

When you look closely at the photo, you see that the woman marching between Turner and Acevedo is wearing a T-shirt that reads, “March for Our Lives Houston.” That moment was photographed by the Associated Press more than two years ago (March 24, 2018) during a protest for gun legislation and school safety. It was not taken at a recent rally protesting the death of George Floyd.

Turner’s Communications Director, Mary Benton, took to Twitter this weekend to address it. And, in a statement to the VERIFY team, said, “It is a shame that some people are spending time and energy to distort the truth and distract from the significance of two major events held in our city.”

HPD said it stands by that statement. The two Houston leaders did participate in marches in June 2020 in support of George Floyd. Both were wearing masks.

So, we can VERIFY the photo is real. But this claim is false.

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