Fact Check

Don't Jaywalk in Detroit

Rumor: Video shows a hapless pedestrian being run over and beaten in Detroit.

Published May 17, 2012


Claim:   Video shows a pedestrian being run over and beaten in Detroit.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, May 2012]

Is this video of a driver running over and beating a jaywalker in Detroit for real?


Origins:   The video displayed above shows a van striking a glancing blow to a pedestrian who is crossing the street, then running up on the sidewalk to hit the pedestrian again, whereupon one of the van's occupants leaves the vehicle and delivers a savage kick to the head of the prone victim. It was widely circulated on the Internet under the title "Don't jaywalk in Detroit," but contextual elements (including other versions of the video posted under the title "Never jaywalk in Johannesburg") indicate the scene of the incident was actually somewhere in South Africa.

As reported on the South African web site 2oceansvibe.com (2ov), the confrontation captured on the video took place in Bloemfontein, the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa, in early March 2012, and the driver was arrested the following day:

Yusuf Abramjee, Head of News and Current Affairs at Primedia Broadcasting, and chairperson of the National Press Club, told 2ov that the taxi driver has been arrested:

"It happened on Friday [2 March 2012]. The driver was arrested on Saturday. The victim is a homeless man who has not opened a charge. It happened in Bloemfontein outside a filling station. When I was alerted yesterday about this, Lead SA alerted the Ministry of Transport who got the Road Traffic Management Corporation to also probe it. I've just been told by the National Prosecuting Authority they are also following up to see the status of the case. The worrying part is the Public who stand alongside doing nothing. That's why the Lead SA philosophy of creating an active civic society is what we need."

Last updated:   24 February 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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