A viral video showing a group of people surrounding armored vehicles does not involve the Black Lives Matter protests, an Atlanta Police Department spokesperson told Heavy. The video was shared amid mass protests in the United States following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Protesters have also sought to bring attention to the deaths of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, and Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia.
Armored vehicles on U.S. streets have become a common sight in many cities amid the May and June 2020 protests. The Los Angeles Times noted in a June 2 article about the protests that, “Images told of a nation at conflict with itself: Tanks barreled through city streets.” Among the most controversial incidents in Atlanta during the protests saw Taniyah Pilgrim and Messiah Young pulled from a car by police officers. During the incident, Young was tased. Two police officers were fired as a result of the altercation. Another infamous moment saw protesters vandalizing the CNN center. Georgia’s National Guard became a viral sensation on June 5 when members were shown performing the “Macarena” dance to a crowd.
Conservative Commentator Jon Miller Shared the Video to His 80,000 Followers
On June 5, a video showing the group began circulating on Twitter. Conservative commentator Jon Miller posted the video to his nearly 80,000 followers. Miller wrote, “Oh terrific now the looters in Atlanta have stolen tanks.” Four hours later, Miller tweeted, “Tanks were not stolen. It appears they were rented by a rap group and staged. Apologies for sharing previous video.” Despite the retraction, Miller did not delete the video from his Twitter feed.”
Rapper Meek Mill was among the first to comment on the viral video tweeting, “They didn’t steal them the soldiers connecting with the people!”
Atlanta PD Says the Armored Vehicles Were Being Used in ‘a Music Production’
Officer Steven Avery of the Public Affairs Unit with the Atlanta Police Department told Heavy that they are aware of the video. Officer Avery said that the video “appears to be a music production.” He also confirmed that the vehicles in the video did not belong to the Atlanta Police Department and that they are not investigating the incident.
Rapper Trouble, an Atlanta native, posted videos to his Instagram page showing him riding on an armored vehicle on June 5. Heavy has reached out to Trouble’s manager for comment on this story. Rapper Nefew also posted multiple photos showing him in an armored vehicle. Nefew said of the rumors regarding the armored vehicles, “I wasn’t gone post it until da video dropped but I see we done already went viral🤷🏾♂️.”
Trouble, whose real name is Mariel Semonte Orr, was named by XXL Magazine as one of the “!5 Atlanta Rappers You Should Know” in 2013. Trouble was in the news in 2019 after initiated an anti-violence campaign in his community named “Guns Down Water Guns Up.” Videos of the incident went viral as an Atlanta Police Department officer was soaked by a crowd. Around 500 people attended the event.
Trouble told NBC Atlanta, “I expected people to pull up, but not as massive as it was. And for it to be nothing but pure fun and energy.” The rapper added, “It’s relative to different cities and different states because of people are having problems everywhere. It was a successful event.”