Hoaxes & Rumors

Ferguson Protester Sign: Real or Fake?

Ferguson Protester Sign: Real or Fake?

A Ferguson protest sign shared on social media says, “No mother should have to fear for her son’s life every time he robs a store.” Is this real or fake?

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It is Fake…

The photo, which has been heavily shared on social media, has been altered. While the altered version reads, “No mother should have to fear for her son’s life every time he robs a store”, the original untouched protest sign says, “No mother should have to fear for her son’s life every time he leaves home #blacklivesmatter #stayhuman”

Altered photo of Ferguson protester

Altered photo by Imgur user Bdawgid

History

Originally, the unaltered photograph appeared in an October 1st Riverfront Times blog post by Mitch Ryalsm, and covered protesters who had been arrested in Ferguson, MO when they stepped into the street after they were instructed by police to stay on a sidewalk.

Ferguson protesters holding signs

Original photo from Mitch Ryal blog post

On November 27 of 2014, an Imgur user going by the name of Bdawgid posted the modified version of the image. A caption included with the adapted snapshot is quoted below:

“The black community has every reason to be angry with the police, and the brutality they inflict. But making a martyr out of the kid that robbed a store and attacked a police officer is just mind boggling. Micheal Brown is one of the worst things to happen to race relations in a long time.”

Shortly after the posting, Bdawgid admitted in comments to Photoshopping the picture, “It is definitely shopped. Badly. By me…” The following edit was also added to the caption above, “Edit: Yes, I shopped this. It captured mine, and many others, frustration with this whole situation.”

Bdawgid’s frustration and the created sign are in reference to surveillance photos which allegedly show Michael Brown stealing a box of Swisher Sweets cigars from a convenience store prior to his shooting death. However, the Huffington Post points out that police claimed that Brown was arrested for “blocking traffic” as he walked down the street, and the penalty for stealing is certainly not death.

Bottom Line

The sign displayed by a Ferguson protester that is circulating on social media has been altered. Initially, the original photo appeared in a Riverfront Times blog in the beginning of October, but it was altered and posted to Imgur by a user named Bdawgid in late November. Subsequently, Bdawgid has admitted to Photoshopping the image.

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