Fact Check

'No Mother Should Have to Fear for Her Son's Life Every Time He Robs a Store'

An image showing a Ferguson protester holding a controversial sign is a digital fabrication.

Published Dec 1, 2014

 (StillCallsMeSon / Shutterstock.com)
Image Via StillCallsMeSon / Shutterstock.com
A photograph shows a protester holding a "No mother should have to fear for her son's life every time he robs a store" sign in front of a fire station in Ferguson, Missouri.

In August 2014, an unarmed 18-year-old black man named Michael Brown was shot to death by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, after Brown allegedly robbed a convenience store, an event that sparked widespread unrest and protests in Ferguson and elsewhere. Three months later, a photograph showing a Ferguson, Missouri, 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 27 November 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.

Although the photograph does depict three protesters standing outside a fire department in Ferguson, Missouri, the wording on the sign has been altered. The original photograph was taken by Mitch Ryals and was published in the Riverfront Times on 1 October 2014. That picture documents 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":

The Imgur user who posted the manipulated image eventually admitted to it, writing: "Yes, I shopped this. It captured mine, and many others, frustration with this whole situation."

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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