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A misidentified video purportedly depicts Mike Brown assaulting an elderly man over a stolen backpack.

Claim: A video depicts Mike Brown assaulting an elderly man over a stolen backpack.

false

Example: [Collected via e-mail, December 2014]

There is a video circulating that purports to be of Michael Brown beating someone up. Is it really him?

Origin:On 9 December 2014, a Facebook user named Shawn Spall posted a video purporting to be footage of Mike Brown (the teenager shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri) brutally assaulting a much older man over the theft of a backpack. The source of the video was not disclosed by its original poster, and later the same day that user either removed or restricted the video after it had been shared tens of thousands of times.


Subsequently, several copies (with explicit language) of the video were re-posted to YouTube (as seen in the "Example" block above). After the originally circulated clip was deleted by its original poster, users who had shared the video mistakenly assumed it had been deliberately deleted by Facebook in an attempt to conceal the truth:

WOW FACEBOOK TOOK DOWN THE PRIVATE HOME VIDEO I HAD ON MY PAGE OF MIKE BROWN BEATING AN OLD MAN AND ROBBING HIM OF HIS BACKPACK! IT'S HAS MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARED OFF EVERYONE'S PAGE THAT SHARED IT. I REMEMBER OVER 30,000 SHARES AS OF YESTERDAY AROUND 5PM CST WHEN i FIRST SHARED IT.

WE NEED TO ASK OURSELVES, WHY WOULD FACEBOOK WANT THIS KID TO BE SEEN AS A MARTYR? WHY WOULD THEY SENSOR THIS INFORMATION? WE ARE BOMBARDED EVERYDAY BY JIHAD VIDEOS AND STUPID PET TRICKS BUT WE CAN'T SHOW THE TRUTH ABOUT A PUNK THAT IS BEING HELD AS A CIVIL RIGHTS HERO? YOU SUCK FACEBOOK!!!!

However, when a person removes or restricts content that was once publicly available, all shared copies are subject to the new restriction. As such, the original poster (and not Facebook) was responsible for the video's disappearance, and he provided no explanation for its sudden removal. On 21 December 2014 a user named Bob Kitsemetry posted the video appended with a comment ("The gentle GIANT Yea?"), and it once again circulated heavily on the social network.

Still images taken from the grainy video suggested the individual depicted was not Brown. Mike Brown stood at between 6'4" and 6'5", and even at 18 was uncommonly tall among American men. The person depicted in the circulating footage does not appear to be nearly as tall as Brown was, by a good margin:

Skin tone is difficult to compare in general (particularly in lower resolution footage), but the person in the "Mike Brown video" appeared to have a far deeper tone than Brown. As well, the features of the unnamed man in the video (from the brief portions in which his face is visible) look nothing like Brown's, and the person in the video has pierced ears (Brown did not):

The footage seen here was originally posted to the Internet back in 2012, when Brown was just 16, under original title "only in Woodland City." The video was apparently taken at a large apartment complex in Dallas, Texas (a state in which Mike Brown never lived), called Woodland City Apartments:

The event depicted in the video occurred on 3 September 2012 or earlier:

It's not clear whether Spall was aware of the source when he posted the video.

After Brown's death in August 2014, several rumors circulated about him were later proved entirely false: one involving his supposed arrest record, another claiming he had gravely injured Officer Darren Wilson, and one displaying a photo of gun-wielding murder suspect Joda Cain that was touted as depicting the "real Mike Brown."

Last updated: 24 July 2016

Originally published: 09 December 2014

David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.


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