Published 5:47 PM EDT Sep 11, 2020
Claim: Headline claims the owner of a Kenosha car dealership destroyed by arsonists killed himself because insurance wouldn’t cover losses
One of the trademark images from Kenosha in the violent unrest that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake shows dozens of vehicles consumed by flames in a used car lot.
It has spurred a viral — and plainly wrong — claim about the lot’s owner.
An image that began circulating on Sept. 11 shows a supposed screenshot from the Fox Business website reading, “Kenosha car dealer kills himself after his insurance won’t cover a cent of the 2.5 million dollars of damages caused by the riots.”
A subhead beneath that says, “Sad news today in the town of Kenosha. The car dealer whose lot got burned to the ground kills himself after he found out that his insurance won’t cover for the damages for the riots. Close family members are (sic) devistated.”
This sloppily worded claim is not true.
More: Fact check: Jacob Blake did not ‘brandish’ knife, get gun before Kenosha police shooting
The car lot involved — Car Source — is co-owned by Anmol Khindri, his father and his brother, Anmol Khindri told WKOW for a Sept. 2 story. They bought the lot in 2013.
After Blake, 29, was shot in the back seven times by a Kenosha police officer on Aug. 23, the lot was targeted on consecutive nights as protests devolved into looting and violence.
Khindri estimated the damage at $2.5 million. A gofundme page launched to help the lot’s 20-plus employees said 137 cars were destroyed, in addition to the damage to the building.
Khindri told WKOW his insurance company rejected his claim for damages.
“They don’t cover the riots. This is domestic terrorism, (they) don’t cover it,” he told the TV station. “I’m screwed. I’m bankrupt.”
Family confirms no death
There are numerous reasons to doubt the image in the viral post, but we’ll start with what we learned directly from the Khindri family, and the most basic fact:
No one died by suicide.
USA TODAY spoke to Khindri’s mother, Suman Khindri, and his father, Anil Khindri, hours after the image was posted online, and both confirmed the report of a suicide was incorrect. Anmol Khindri did not immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment.
More: Fact check: Police gave Kyle Rittenhouse water and thanked him before shooting
But the sloppily assembled image also gave a discerning viewer many reasons to doubt its veracity. Among the tells:
- The subhead misspells the word devastated and doesn’t capitalize Kenosha.
- The image has the right logo and links at the top of the page, but it doesn’t show a story date above the headline or a byline and social media links below the headline, as real stories on the Fox Business Network site do.
- The subhead in particular uses poor grammar throughout, inconsistent with a news operation on the scale of Fox Business Network. Other references such as “2.5 million dollars” aren’t in line with Associated Press style guidelines used by news organizations.
- A partially cropped word at the bottom of the image says “ifunn,” potentially indicating it is connected to ifunny.co, an online repository of memes and other doctored images.
The poster who shared the most widely circulated version of this claim did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Our rating: False
We rate this claim FALSE because it is completely fabricated. The owner of Car Source has said insurance denied the claim since it was due to “domestic terrorism.” But the thrust of the claim is not about insurance, it’s that a man lost his life. And that element is manufactured and completely wrong. Anmol Khindri has not taken his own life. The headline shown here was manipulated — no such story was published by Fox Business Network.
Our fact-check sources
- Facebook post, Sept. 11, 2020
- Facebook post, Sept. 11, 2020
- Phone interview with Suman Khindri, Sept. 11, 2020
- Phone interview with Anil Khindri, Sept. 11, 2020
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sept. 3, Kenosha car dealer denies he asked gunmen to protect his business
- Fox Business Network, Aug. 25, Kenosha car dealership sustained $1.5M in damage after first night of riots, report says
- WKOW, Sept. 2, Owner of burnt Kenosha car lot says riots caused $2.5M in damages
- Gofundme.com, Aug. 27, Car Source in Kenosha
Contact Eric Litke at (414) 225-5061 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @ericlitke.
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