How misinformation spread on social media amid a night of unrest in Minneapolis

More than 130 arrests were made following the unrest and looting in downtown Minneapolis, which broke out after misinformation spread about an apparent suicide.

“I was one of the individuals that live streamed what was going on downtown,” said KingDemetrius Pendleton, an independent journalist.

Pendleton documents all sorts of events, bringing his live stream viewers and social media followers to important happenings particularly in the African-American community.

“It was already made up in their mind that they were going to riot or do what they were going to do,” said Pendelton.

A crowd gathers outside a downtown Minneapolis store, while looters take items on Aug. 27, 2020. (FOX 9)

Pendleton found himself in the middle of Wednesday evening’s chaos and mayhem along Nicollet Mall as he interviewed a young eyewitness who believed she saw police kill an armed suspect.

“And then, they shot him in the head,” she said in Pendleton's Facebook Live interview.

In an effort to calm tensions in the streets, authorities quickly released graphic surveillance video, which captured taking his life. The evidence, however, appeared to do little to calm the situation as looting, vandalism, and rioting followed.

Pendleton eventually corrected the record on his social media and he believes the video of the suicide may have just saved the city from further destruction.

“We would not be standing here covering this, we’d be geared up in riot gear, helmets and facemasks because this town would have literally burned,” said Pendleton.

At a news conference Thursday morning, Minneapolis authorities stood behind their decision to widely circulate the suicide video despite the trauma the move caused in itself. Law enforcement and the Minnesota National Guard are now preparing for another night of potential unrest. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey instituted an 8 p.m. curfew Thursday evening.

“We will not tolerate deliberate and malicious destruction of our neighborhood and our businesses,” said Frey.