'Hands up, don't shoot' ranked one of biggest 'Pinocchios' of 2015
Campaign trail whoppers dominate The Washington Post's annual list of the biggest political "Pinocchios" of 2015, published Monday. But among a collection of dubious statements that earned four "Pinocchios" from Republican poll leader Donald Trump and other candidates is the phrase that launched countless protests and calls for police accountability and reform: "hands up, don't shoot."
Those words, which rose to the public consciousness following the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, rang hollow with federal investigators. As the Post first noted in its March 19 fact check, a St. Louis County jury could not confirm testimonies to the effect that Brown had been holding his hands above his head and telling Wilson not to shoot him. A Department of Justice investigation released earlier in March could not corroborate those details, either, after interviewing roughly 40 witnesses.
The phrase took off more than a year ago, becoming a rallying cry for protesters and others trying to draw attention to the death of Brown and other African Americans at the hands of police officers. In November 2014, some members of the St. Louis Rams ran out on the field during pregame introductions with their hands raised above their heads, an action repeated by four members of the Congressional Black Caucus on the House floor in December 2014.