Earlier today Sean Davis, the co-founder of The Federalist Newspaper, tweeted this:


Back in July, Atlantic Postwriter and Human Rights Lawyer Derecka Purnell wrote a piece titled ‘How I Became a Police Abolitionist.’ She tells a story about when she was twelve years old living in a small town in Saint Louis and how she witnessed an officer shoot a young boy in the arm because he ignored a basketball sign-up sheet at her local recreational center. The story was so moving that the President of The Social Justice Think Tank at Harvard tweeted this:

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However, when The Federalist conducted their own investigation into the legitimacy of Purnell’s story, there were many alarming inaccuracies in her story. She ‘misremembered’ many of the locations including where she lived. As The Federalist dug into police responses to rec centers around the year in which Purnell claims she saw the shooting happen, they concluded that:

“Between 2001 and 2003, there were 23 police responses to the Buder Recreation Center and 38 to the 12th & Park Recreation Center. The nature of the calls cover a range of incidents, from accidents to domestic disputes, from pedestrians in need to suspicious vehicles, from larceny to arson. None of the police responses, however, involved a shooting except perhaps one attempted suicide at the 12th & Park rec center.”

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The Federalist then contacted Jeff Roorda a former St. Louis police officer who told them the story ‘predates [his] tenure’ but he doesn’t remember that ‘even as a consumer of local news.’

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