Yes, the photo of a woman holding an AK-47 in San Francisco is real

A woman was seen holding an AK-47 during a speed event in San Francisco. An investigation is ongoing.
Credit: San Francisco Police Department
Photo from San Francisco police of a woman holding an AK47 outside a car window.

On August 4, the San Francisco Police Department tweeted a photo of a woman allegedly holding an AK-47 while hanging from a vehicle window. 

The photos were also shared from the San Francisco Police Department's Facebook account on August 5.

Since it was posted, VERIFY was asked about the photo. 

THE QUESTION

Is the photo of a woman holding an AK-47 while hanging from a car window real?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, the photo is real and police are investigating the incident.

WHAT WE FOUND

The San Francisco Police Department shared the photo, along with another showing a vehicle seized, from their Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

“On July 11th, 2021, during an illegal sideshow event at Barneveld & McKinnon, a passenger leaned out of a Cadillac holding an AK-47 (see photo),” the Facebook post said. “The SFPD’s Traffic Company personnel worked up a case, and seized this particular vehicle yesterday evening.”

On July 11th, 2021, during an illegal sideshow event at Barneveld & McKinnon, a passenger leaned out of a Cadillac...

Posted by San Francisco Police Department on Thursday, August 5, 2021

According to the California legislature, “sideshow” is defined as “an event in which two or more persons block or impede traffic on a highway, for the purpose of performing motor vehicle stunts, motor vehicle speed contests, motor vehicle exhibitions of speed, or reckless driving, for spectators.”

Office Adam Lobsinger, a public information officer with the San Francisco Police Department told VERIFY the incident is under investigation. 

“As a result, we cannot release a copy of the incident report. So far no arrests have been made. The incident is being investigated by the SFPD Stunt Driving Response Unit and the SFPD Traffic Company. Due to the fact that this is an open and active investigation we cannot comment further,” Lobsinger said. 

Lobsinger also could not confirm if the photo was submitted directly to the police department or found on social media. 

VERIFY used RevEye, a reverse image search extension that searches across popular image platforms TinEye, Google Images, Bing Images and Yandex, and found the social media posts from the San Francisco Police Department were the earliest versions of the image posted, suggesting the photo is authentic (see here and here for some results).

Credit: Screenshot/Google Images

Using Google Maps, VERIFY could also confirm the photo was taken from the intersection of Barneveld and McKinnon Avenues. 

VERIFY compared the background of the photo shared by the San Francisco Police Department and found the same buildings and even the same motorhome was seen in each background.

Credit: Screenshot

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