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Officers responding to Philadelphia shooting did not fake gunshot injuries

August 16, 2019 GMT

CLAIM: Video shows officers spraying fake blood on themselves, proof that a Philadelphia shooting that left six officers injured Wednesday was staged. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The erroneous claim is paired with a 15-second clip taken from news footage that aired on WPVI-TV in Philadelphia during a standoff between police and a gunman on Wednesday. A review of the full version of the footage shows that the officer is bleeding as he runs toward a police car. 

THE FACTS: Six officers were shot and injured in the standoff that lasted 7 ½ hours, according to The Associated Press. The news footage from WPVI’s live coverage includes an anchor’s description of the officer’s injuries as seen from helicopter footage. There is no audio paired with the false claim online.

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“You can see blood coming from his arm and his leg,” the WPVI-TV reporter says. “He is running to a waiting police cruiser with his officer, his colleagues right around him.” 

The Philadelphia Police Department said in a statement that the officer was bleeding from a gunshot wound in the video and that the substance on the ground was blood. 

“This is outrageous,” the department said in an email to the AP in response to questions about the 15-second video clip.

Police had initially responded to the scene to execute a drug warrant. 

In the falsely captioned video, a person stands in front of their television screen pointing at two officers on the screen as one jumps into a police car with blood running down his arm. The 6abc Action News logo is visible in the clip.

Facebook posts using the video with the false claim were viewed thousands of times Thursday and a separate version on YouTube received more than 10,000 views. Several Twitter accounts also tweeted the YouTube video Thursday. 

None of the officers involved in the shooting sustained life-threatening injuries, the AP reported.

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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.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536