A set of three photos of injured federal police officers in Mexico were not taken after confrontations with migrants making their way in a caravan from Central America to the U.S., despite posts circulating on social media.
In the most prominent photo, an officer is bleeding from a head wound. Gustavo Aguado Butanda, a local photographer in the Mexican state of Michoacan, told The Associated Press that he took the photo on Oct. 15, 2012, in Tiripetio. Butanda said that police had entered a school in the town during a clash involving “normalistas,” a group of students protesting modernization of curriculums.
His photo, along with two others, were miscaptioned to say that Mexican police were being brutalized by members of the migrant caravan. The number of migrants in the caravan, which has made its way to southern Mexico, has grown to more than 7,000 as they head to the U.S. border.
In another photo, an officer attempts to pull himself up onto a sidewalk after being injured in a clash with protesters in Chilpancingo, a city in the state of Guerrero, ahead of a concert scheduled for that night. Cristopher Rogel Blanquet, who took the photo in December of 2014, said the concert was to honor 43 students who went missing that year. The students from a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa disappeared while on their way to a demonstration in Mexico City.
In the third photo, a police officer is bleeding from his nose amid a group of other officers in riot gear. Associated Press photographer Luis Alberto Cruz was present during the confrontation on Feb. 15, 2011. Cruz said the officer was injured in a clash with teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico. He said the officer was injured as teachers attempted to push past the officers who were there to provide security in preparation for the visit by then-President of Felipe Calderon.
Aguado Butanda’s photo began circulating on social media Sunday and also appeared on 4Chan, a shadowy online forum known for spreading hoaxes. On Monday, Trump tweeted that Mexican authorities were unable to stop the caravan heading to the U.S. border. Mexican officials sent federal police officers to the border with Guatemala last week.
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.
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