Virginia Beach, VA – A woman posted a lengthy tale about her boyfriend, who is black, being stopped and harassed by the Virginia Beach police for giving change to a homeless man.
The hoax went viral in a series of 30 tweets.
But when investigators looked into the claims made by a woman who called herself Hermione Danger @kelseybew on Twitter, they could find no evidence that such an incident ever occurred.
Danger began posting her Twitter thread that claimed her boyfriend was pulled over by a white police officer who pulled a gun on him and taunted him to reach into his pocket at 6:22 a.m. on April 25.
The post had more than 137,000 retweets and almost 215,000 likes as of Monday afternoon.
In the tweets, Danger said her boyfriend had been stopped by an officer after he’d given 50 cents to a pan handler outside a convenience store.
“That man got pulled over because an officer saw him give someone CHANGE,” she wrote.
She claimed that the officer wanted to see her boyfriend’s insurance info and that it was in his phone, in his pocket.
Danger tweeted that the officer pulled her boyfriend out of the car and held him at gunpoint and told him to take his phone out of his pocket.
“So my baby starts crying, y’all. A 31 year old man straight BAWLING cause he’s terrified that if he reaches for his pocket he’s going to get shot. And the cop keeps yelling at him to just do it, never lowering his damn gun,” she wrote.
Backup arrived in the form of two additional police officers the posts said, a K9, and a sheriff. She said they let the K9 dog tear up her boyfriend’s car looking for drugs that were not there.
“One of the male cops asks what’s going on and boo boo tells them the cop wants him to get his phone out his pocket but he doesn’t want to reach himself and, you know, get shot. So a cop takes his phone out his pocket for him and hands it to the original douche-cop,” she tweeted.
Danger said she was freaking out because he should have been home from a trip to take a friend to the airport hours before, and she wasn’t able to reach him.
Her posts, which were both terrifying and inflammatory, set off a backlash against the Virginia Beach police.
“Our agency took this allegation very seriously and immediately began searching all incident reports and dispatch logs from our Emergency 911 dispatchers, and we have found absolutely no such incident, as described, having occurred in Virginia Beach or involving Virginia Beach officers,” the Virginia Beach police posted on Facebook and Twitter.
“The VBPD contacted all surrounding police agencies in the Hampton Roads area to include the Virginia State Police, and no police agency reported any similar incident occurring within their respective jurisdictions,” the department posted.
The details didn’t add up in a number of ways, including the fact that the woman claimed her boyfriend left to take a friend to the airport 30 minutes after the last flight of the night had already departed, the Virginian-Pilot reported.
Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman Kathy Hieatt said the sheriff’s department hasn’t been able to confirm Danger’s story, either.
There are two deputies with the last name Smith in their department, and both denied any knowledge of the alleged incident, Hieatt said.
The Virginia Beach Police Department reached out to the woman on social media but got no response, according to police spokeswoman Linda Kuehn. Hermione Danger also did not respond to interview requests from The Virginian-Pilot.
Danger posted an update to her story on April 26.
“He is currently working with someone and they ARE investigating,” Danger tweeted. “He isn’t one to draw attention to himself so he’s choosing to handle this privately. We appreciate all the concern and kind words these past couple of days.”
Danger hasn’t responded to requests from police or reporters.