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Photo does not show memorial defaced by Black Lives Matter protesters

June 29, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Photo showing a Vietnam veterans memorial wall marked with graffiti depicts recent vandalism by Black Lives Matter protesters.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. This photo of a mural in Los Angeles to honor missing Vietnam veterans shows vandalism that occurred in 2016. That year, the mural was defaced by taggers, including a man named Angel Castro, who was sentenced to four years in prison for the crime, according to reporting by The Associated Press.

THE FACTS: A four-year-old photo of a graffiti-covered Vietnam memorial wall in Los Angeles has circulated widely on social media in recent weeks, with Facebook and Twitter users mistaking it as new.


“DISGUSTING!” one Facebook user wrote in a recent post. “BLM protesters decided to vandalize a veterans memorial for those who died in the Vietnam War! But yeah … these are normal people who are sane and peaceful. NOT! I hope this pisses you off enough to share it!”

But a reverse-image search shows the image of spray-painted letters on a wall covered with names was taken in 2016, when four vandals defaced the mural with graffiti days before Memorial Day.

Castro was a graffiti artist who went by the nickname “Liter,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

The mural has since been restored with a coating to protect against graffiti, according to Donna Lasman, a spokeswoman for the Venice Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles.

Lasman said that as of last week, the wall has not experienced any recent vandalism.


This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536