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Photos of injured police officers are not from recent protests

August 25, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Photos show four police officers who were injured by Democrats and Black Lives Matter rioters over the weekend in Portland, Seattle and nearby cities.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The four photos in a post being shared on social media show police officers who sustained injuries in various parts of Australia in 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2019. Their injuries were not related to Black Lives Matter protests or other demonstrations in the U.S.

THE FACTS: On Aug. 25, a grid of four photos featuring bloodied and bandaged police officers was circulating widely on Facebook with more than 1,200 shares and 56,000 views. 

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“50 police officers were injured by Dems and BLM rioters over the weekend in Portland Seattle and other nearby cities,” the caption read. “Pray for their safety.”

However, further research into the origin of the photos reveals they were all taken in Australia — and not over the weekend. In fact, all of the photos date back to 2019 or earlier.

The photo on the top left shows a police officer kneeling in the street with his hand on his knee and his forehead dripping blood. It can be traced to a September 2012 protest in Sydney, when demonstrations against a film perceived as anti-Islamic grew violent, according to local news reports with the photo. 

The photo on the top right shows a police officer sitting indoors, her face covered in scratches and one hand stretched across her body to hold her other arm. Police released the photos in April 2019, after a man on parole in a Sydney suburb allegedly bit and scratched a 22-year-old officer during a welfare check, according to local reports featuring the photo.

The photo on the bottom left shows a police officer on what appears to be a hospital bed, his eyes closed and his uniform marred by dark stains. It stems from a Western Australia pub fight in March 2006 when a bar patron attacked a police officer trying to break up the clash, according tolocal news reports using the photo. 

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The photo on the bottom right shows a police officer with swollen eyes and a bandage wrapped around the middle of his face. It was taken after a Christmas Day 2009 fight in Western Australia, which resulted in a police officer getting struck in the face with a brick, according to local news stories at the time.

Though these photos don’t relate to recent Black Lives Matter protests in the United States, several police officers have been injured in the demonstrations that have sprung up across the nation in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

The Associated Press has reported on several such incidents, including at protests in Seattle and Portland.

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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