Social media rumors about a “purge” occurring in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this weekend gave pause to local authorities.
According to Snopes, the rumor began with a Facebook user named “Timothy James Turner.” The alleged Facebook post announcing a “purge” has since been deleted, but an Alton Sterling fan page created after his death has gained attention for suggestive posts hinting at further retaliation.
(Warning: These images depict brutal violence toward police officers.)
Outrage from the public follows the shooting this week of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, and aftermath of Minnesota resident Philando Castile‘s death, both allegedly at the hands of police. In response, Black Lives Matter protests have erupted throughout the nation.
The Facebook post caused quite a stir on Twitter, with some followers behind the theatrical-inspired plan and others frightened with uncertainty. In the last 24 hours there have been more than 1,250 tweets mentioning Baton Rouge and “the Purge,” according to analytics from Spredfast.
Kiran Chawla of WAFB refutes the viral posts with a message from East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s office, writing off the rumors as a “hoax.”
Rapper Webbie likewise posted a series of Instagram posts asking followers to “meet” him in Baton Rouge and to “get out and do” something about police violence. He also posted footage to his more than 600,000 followers of Sterling’s death. While he did not directly address the purge rumors, he became associated with them through Twitter.
Webbie did not respond to a request for comment.
The Purge is a horror franchise that began in 2013. Directed by James DeMonaco, the plot centers around a 12-hour “purge” where all crime is legal, and violence is permitted throughout the city. The movie had mixed reviews.