A pro-Trump racist social media post from an "Army Reserve medic" made the Iinternet rounds last week, but Army officials say the woman linked to the post is a victim of identity theft.
The alleged racist "Terra Simmons" does not exist and the account is a fake of unknown origins, according to Army Reserve spokesman Capt. Eric Connor.
The profile pictures, however, are real. The woman, a former member of the National Guard's military police, had her identity stolen for the purposes of the racist post, Connor said. Her name was altered.
Contrary to the forged post, the woman never served in the Reserve nor did she work for Amazon, nor did she set foot in South Carolina, Connor said.
"Somebody took a photo of a soldier no longer in the military and appropriated it for a fake post," Connor told Army Times. "If it had been someone in the Army Reserve … we would have definitely taken a serious look at the matter. Given that it was a bogus post, we didn't have to go that far."
Paraphrased, tThe post, which was littered with racial slurs, suggested that "When Trump gets elected," he would cut food stamps and send black people "back to Africa." The post was littered with racial slurs.
Quickly, screenshots of the Facebook post and the apparently hijacked pictures spread through social media. A number of concerned readers sent the images to Army Times.
Various Army pages, and the page of the Amazon warehouse where the profile said the writer worked, page (where the post said she worked), were inundated with angry messages. Most wanted to see the woman punished.
This screengrab was sent to Army Times via Facebook. The Army Reserve later confirmed the woman in the picture was the victim of identity theft.
Photo Credit: Courtesy
The Army did take notice, but the National Guard and Army Reserve could not find "Terra Simmons" in any database of current or former employees, Connor said.
They soon identified the real individual, a woman who served in the Illinois National Guard from 2007 to 2014. While she declined comment for this article, Connor said the woman was disturbed to have her face associated with such vile comments.
"I can tell you from talking to her, one of the things she said was, 'This is totally not who I am,'" Connor told Army Times after speaking with the former Guard member. "She came across as very genuine."
Nearly everything in the profile is fake, it turns out. It says "Terra" (not even close, Connor said, to the former MP's real name, which the Army did not disclose) is from Arizona and works in South Carolina while serving in the Reserves. Aside from never having been to South Carolina or serving the Reserves, she's never lived in Arizona, either. Purported family members have appeared in some threads trying to make online commenters aware of the fraud.
So, who set up the posts?
"We have absolutely no idea whatsoever and she doesn't either," Connor said. He said the former Guard member told him the pictures used were her former social media profile photos that were not shielded from public view. She has since increased her privacy settings.