Ferguson, Mo., Protester Holding No Mother Should Fear Son’s Life When He Robs a Store Sign Is A Fake

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A protester in Ferguson, Mo., seen holding a sign that read “No mother should have to fear for her son’s life every time he robs a store” in front of a fire station is a digital fake. There is no truth behind the image showing a Ferguson protester holding a controversial sign.

It has been three years since a white police officer in the nearby suburb of Ferguson, killed an unarmed black 18-year-old named Michael Brown after Brown allegedly robbed a convenience store. What followed was a wave of protests and a police response that captured worldwide attention.

The protests that spawned the Black Lives Matter movement threw a spotlight on the way police departments across America treat black citizens and also highlighted the growing militarization of the country’s police forces. Black Lives Matter is a chapter-based national organization working for the validity of Black life. Black Lives Matter is working to rebuild the Black liberation movement.

Now, where did the fake image originate? Three months after the event, a photo showing a Ferguson protester holding a sign reading “No mother should have to fear for her son’s life every time he robs a store” was posted to the photo-sharing site Imgur on Nov. 27, 2014 along with the following message:

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.

However, the above photograph is a digitally manipulated photograph, according to Snopes. Although the photograph does depict three protesters standing outside a fire department in Ferguson, the wording on the sign has been altered to create a different message on the middle sign.

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The phrase “every time he robs a store” refers to surveillance footage showing Brown earlier that day robbing a store of cigarillos and assaulting a store employee. Supporters of Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Brown, have said the robbery is an important piece of context in explaining Wilson’s shooting of Brown.

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The original photograph was taken by Mitch Ryals and was published in the Riverfront Times on Oct. 1, 2014. Snopes noted that the original photo shows that the message on the sign carried by the center protester actually read: “No mother should have to fear for her son’s life every time he leaves home.”

But words on the sign were doctored by a user of the social media site Imgur. Initially, the user posted this statement with the retouched photograph: “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 (sic) Brown is one of the worst things to happen to race relations in a long time.”

At some point after the doctored version of the image began circulating, the user acknowledged that he had changed the picture: “Edit: Yes, I shopped this. It captured mine, and many others, frustration with this whole situation.”

What did you think of the digital fake image showing a Ferguson protester holding a sign reading “No mother should have to fear for her son’s life every time he robs a store”? Did you believe it or see people sharing it falsely on social media? Let us know in the comments section.

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