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Rumors about the caravan of Central American migrants making their way across Mexico are rampant. Even the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas seems to be chiming in. Among the most shared is a photo that claims to show the results of refugees assaulting Mexican police officers. But the photo is actually from 2012.
"Mexican police are being brutalized by members of this caravan as they attempt to FORCE their way into Mexico - And WE are supposed to believe these are just poor, helpless refugees seeking asylum???" read several posts that have appeared on Facebook since Sunday alongside a photo of a bloodied officer, among others. "I am 100% behind POTUS deploying military to protect our border and keep them out. If any need asylum, they need to apply for it and do it the right way - LEGALLY and with CIVILITY"
This story was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) And as fact-checkers have debunked it, some of the posts are disappearing from the social media platform. One widely-shared post now shows an error message, meaning the link expired or the user restricted its audience.
The photo of the bloodied officer is authentic but it’s from 2012. Student protesters were involved in the violence, not migrants making their way to the U.S. border.
Earlier this week, Buzzfeed reporter Jane Lytvyenko tweeted tips to help people check allegations like this for themselves. First, search for the image in Google by dropping a JPEG into the search bar. If the caption is in another language, copy and paste it into Google translate.
The translated caption she found for the bloodied policeman? "Federal police aid one of his comrades wounded today, Monday, October 15, 2012, in the normal school of the municipality of Tiripetio, state of Michoacan (Mexico). More than a hundred students who were held in the student hall were arrested. Twelve vehicles were burned, including two police units."
The photo being shared purports to be a recent one, but it’s not. We rate this statement Pants on Fire!
Facebook search for "Mexican police are being brutalized by members of this caravan as they attempt to FORCE their way into Mexico," Oct. 30, 2018
Facebook post, Oct. 22, 2018
Medium, "Clarence Thomas’s wife is sharing fake news about the ‘caravan,’" Oct. 23, 2018
Jane Lytvyenko tweet, Oct. 22, 2018
Snopes, "Were these Mexican police officers brutalized by members of a migrant caravan?" Oct. 22, 2018
Aristegui Noticias, "Fotos: desalojo y la ‘censura’ a la cuenta de normalistas en Twitter," Oct. 17, 2012
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