ROANOKE, Va. – A widely-shared article describing a racially-motivated attack at a Roanoke restaurant is not true, but it is still attracting attention on social media.
Leo Hohmann’s self-published story claimed that people eating outside at 202 Social House were attacked by Black Lives Matter activists on Aug. 28. However, neither the restaurant nor the Roanoke Police Department have found any evidence the attack actually happened.
“When I first saw the article, I was kind of shocked," said 202 Social House owner Neal Keesee. “It’s just totally false. Just read it, and you’ll know it’s totally false.”
Keesee said he found nothing after reviewing the logs kept by the restaurant and talking to employees on-site that night. However, he said he had substantial doubts the attack happened within seconds of reading the story.
“When I saw the date they had in the article was in August, I realized we didn’t even have the extra outside dining then; we put that up in September," said Keesee. “To have people write stuff like this and put it on social media, then people read it and believe it...it’s really disheartening.”
The Roanoke Police Department could not find any evidence either.
In a statement, the police department said:
“After numerous inquiries, we conducted a review of these claims. To date, we do not have any reports or 911 calls that support any of the information that is stated in this article. Therefore, there is no evidence that indicates this incident occurred as it is purported.”Caitlyn Cline, Roanoke Police Department spokesperson
Hohmann’s article no longer contains any mention of 202 Social House, after Keesee contacted the author directly.
“I told him he needed to take down all references to 202, because this didn’t happen,” said Kessee. “He told me, ‘I didn’t say anything happened at 202. That’s the name of the area down there.’ I said, ‘No sir, 202 is a restaurant.’"
The fake news is still fooling people, including Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins, who shared the article on the department’s Facebook page.
The Roanoke Police Department said it reached out to the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office after Jenkins shared the article.
10 News asked the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office why they reposted the article, but no one responded to the question.