Search for “LAPD scanner” on Twitter right now and you’ll see it—a video showing radio traffic in which two vile racists laugh and joke about killing protesters. “We gotta start shooting to kill, man. Mr Trump said so, shoot to kill,” one voice says. “Come one, come all. $100 a head. Every [n-word] you kill, $100. $50 for a Mexican,” the other responds.
On Tiktok, Facebook, and Twitter, the video has racked up over a million views as users have taken the audio and added videos of their reaction to the recording. One problem: it’s not true. While the audio is an authentic depiction of two authentically terrible human beings, they’re civilians not affiliated with the Los Angeles police or using police radios.
The viral LAPD clip is one drop in a tidal wave of misinformation spreading around social media during the current unrest. As protests grew across the country, Americans invented fake fires to ravage through children’s hospitals and turned humble piles of bricks into a boogeyman supply chain. Pundits and politicians may be warning that foreign trolls are just waiting to stoke racial tensions as protests rock the country. When they do, they’re going to have to speak up extra loud because right now they’re being drowned out by a chorus of disinformation of our own making.