Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson Was a Deserter Before His Death in Nigeria-Fiction!

Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson Was a Deserter Before His Death in Nigeria-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:
Rumors have emerged that Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson, who was among four Green Berets killed in an ambush in Niger in October 2017, had deserted his post prior to the attack.
The Truth:
A website that describes its content as “satirical fiction” is behind false reports that Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson deserted his post in Niger before a deadly ambush on October 4, 2017.
The fabricated report appeared at the website under the headline, “BREAKING: Black Soldier Killed In Niger Was A Deserter.” The story begins by describing how Sgt. Johnson’s death sparked a back-and-forth between Johnson’s wife, Myeisha Johnson, U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson and President Donald Trump.
From there, the story cites a report that was supposedly filed by Brietbart about Johnson’s unit identifies Johnson as “the black soldier” who died in Niger. In reality, the report never appeared at (or anywhere else) and was completely fabricated:

According to members of Johnson’s unit, he had disappeared days before the attack.

It is unknown if he met anyone in the multiple days he was gone, but the attack occurred when three other members of his unit went out searching for him.

“I don’t want to raise the alarm yet, but it seems that he was trying to pull a  Bergdahl,” said the soldier, who discussed the situation on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk about it. “It seems suspicious that these terrorists were waiting for them.”

At least two other soldiers voiced the same concerns. labels its content as “satirical fiction,” which is another name for fake news. But many readers don’t scroll to the bottom of the website to read the disclaimer, and are tricked into taking its reporting at face value:

We believe that there is nothing more precious than the mind of an aging conservative. Here we gather a boatload of bullhonkey, works of pure satirical fiction, to give the fist-shakers of the world a reason to hate. Reality is often in the eye of the beholder. You won’t find any of it here.

The truth is that Sgt. La David Johnson had an exemplary record as a solider and was highly regarded by his peers. After joining the Army in 2014, Johnson was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. He quickly worked his way up the ranks and showed a constant drive to improve himself, Johnson’s supervisor said.