WASHINGTON — Question:
Were National Guard Members forced to sleep on the streets of D.C. as a result of Mayor Muriel Bowser cutting off payment for their hotel accommodations?
No. The Verify team tracked down the origin of the photo, which was taken in Minneapolis.
Minnesota National Guard
Military Vanguard Facebook Post, taken May 31
As previously reported by the Verify team, Bowser and Utah Sen. Mike Lee got into a public disagreement on Twitter when the city announced it would no longer be paying for hotel accommodations for National Guard members in town for the protests.
Due to this change, some members of the Guard were forced to switch hotels. In the aftermath of this dispute, a new rumor has surfaced.
Social Media users started spreading a photo of what appears to be National Guard members sleeping on the street. Many users are claiming that this was taken in D.C., and is the result of Bowser's funding decision.
"Hope to see this DC Mayor in an orange jumpsuit soon," wrote one user.
To find the truth about this photo, The Verify team did a reverse-image search on Google, which unveiled hundreds of other posts, with the same photo. In some instances, people were spreading the claim about it being in D.C., but in many of the earlier posts, people were claiming it was taken in Minneapolis.
The Verify team then contacted the Minnesota National Guard, which sent the following three-paragraph response:
I can confirm that this is the MN National Guard.
During the first shifts from Friday-Sat, most individuals were called in from limited rest to respond, and then due to operational needs were not able to be rotated for approximately 24hrs. The leaders at the unit level instituted rest plans that allowed Soldiers to get some downtime while 1/2 of their unit was standing watch. These Soldiers were in a ready reaction state, where they could augment those on duty should the situation call for it. This situation is certainly not ideal, but is also not uncommon when missions dictate an ability to swell numbers on a moment's notice. Once the manning allowed, shifts were able to more readily rotate and the need for "field rest" was lessened for units as they moved from 24 hour shifts to 12 hour shifts.
The Minnesota National Guard had plentiful sleeping arrangements within our staging areas with cots and food supplies. We were not dependent on hotel lodging.
This statement from the Minnesota National Guard confirmed that the photo was not taken in D.C., which makes many recent Twitter posts examples of misinformation that should not be shared without verification.