ATLANTA — We're looking into a viral post that appeared to show children in riot gear outside Lenox Square last night as protests raged across Atlanta.
The claim: The video posted to Twitter has 10 million views, and the person who posted it wrote, "Atlanta has deployed a child militia at Lenox Mall fitted with riot shields and batons."
The tweet itself has been retweeted more than 100,000 times and liked almost 200,000 times.
What we know: In the video, it does look like four people who appear to be very young are standing in fatigues outside a military-style supply truck, holding what look like semi-automatic rifles.
It's a shocking image, one that unsurprisingly spread widely on social media.
An elected Chicago official even picked up on the matter, posting a second video and writing: "It appears the state of Georgia, or someone with access to uniforms and guns, has deployed child soldiers to confront protestors in Atlanta. This is child abuse. Whoever is responsible must be held to account."
So what was going on?
Unfortunately, we don't know much about the kids, how they got there or who gave them access to guns and fatigues. It's not even clear if the guns are real.
The Georgia National Guard, however, has strictly denied that the children would have had any association with them.
"The rumors of us having child soldiers to assist local law enforcement in protecting lives and property is false," the Guard wrote.
The verdict: We don't know where the kids came from, who organized them, or how they got the equipment and weapons they were pictured with. Those are serious questions that still need answering.
But the Georgia National Guard emphatically says they were not signed up with Guard or deployed to Lenox Square by the Guard.
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