The teenagers who allegedly mocked the murder of George Floyd in a Snapchat video have been arrested on suspicion of committing a hate crime.
They and their families are also reportedly under police protection after they all reportedly received death threats for mocking Mr Floyd’s death at the hands of police.
The trio, aged between 18 and 19, sparked outrage when the photo of them recreating how the unarmed 46-year-old black man died at the hands of police in Minnesota went viral.
Mr Floyd’s death led to riots across the US and protests at cities across the world including London.
But the trio, all from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, posted the grinning Snapchat video allegedly mocking his death last week.
After it went viral all three were identified and quickly shut down or deleted all their social media profiles.
But things didn’t stop there and they and their families reportedly started receiving death threats - prompting them to allegedly receive police protection.
A source familiar who went to school with them claimed: “It’s all blown up in their faces and they’ve received death threats.
“They were arrested on Sunday night and have had their phones taken off them and everything.
“It’s turned into a witch hunt and they’ve had some really nasty threats - some of which have been targeted at their families which isn’t right at all.
“The police know about it and are protecting them against any vigilante attacks.”
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: "We can confirm we are investigating after an image was shared on social media which showed two men imitating the recent death of US citizen George Floyd.
“An investigation was launched and yesterday (Sunday) officers arrested two males aged 19 and another male aged 18 on suspicion of sending communications causing anxiety and distress.
“They have since been released on bail. We understand that this social media post has caused significant upset and we want to reassure the public it is being investigated robustly and is being treated as a hate crime."