Hand Holding Mace Spary
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Image of Police Officer Macing a Child

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Circulating message that contains a photograph of a police officer spraying mace at a young girl asks recipients to repost the information in the hope that the officer can be identified and dealt with. 

Brief Analysis

The photograph is genuine. However, the identity of the officer is already known and has been for several years. The incident took place on 23rd March 2011 during a public protest in Niterói, Brazil. The officer’s actions were the subject of an investigation by Rio de Janeiro’s state prosecutor.

Example

Look carefully, this is a photograph of a cop casually macing a child. Please share this ( especially US FB friends and let’s get the SOB x

Police officer macing child post

 

Detailed Analysis

This protest message, which features a disturbing photograph of a police officer spraying mace into the face of a young child, is circulating rapidly via Facebook, Twitter and email. The message suggests that users share the information with others – especially those in the United States – in the hope that the officer can be identified and face consequences for his cruel act.

The photograph itself is genuine. However, the identity of the police officer is already been known for several years. Nor did the incident occur in the United States as implied in the message. 
In fact, the macing took place in Niterói, a city in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 23rd March 2011 during a protest about the non-payment of rental and social benefits. The image was included in an article about the protest published on Brazilian news outlet O Globo on March 23rd, 2011. The image includes the caption “Several children and elderly were hit with pepper spray”.

subsequent news article in the same publication notes that Rio de Janeiro’s state prosecutor had launched an investigation into the conduct of military police after the photograph was published. In July, the state prosecutor filed an official complaint against Military police officers D’Angelo de Matos Pinel and Bruno Schorcht, in relation to their conduct during the protest. Both children and peacefully demonstrating adults were pepper sprayed by the two officers. The complaint recommended that the two officers be suspended immediately, noting that both abused their power by “‘acting unreasonably and unnecessarily aggressive’.” The complaint also noted that the affected children ‘screamed in pain’ and the soldier’s conduct was ‘shameful, criminal, disastrous and abusive’.”

Unfortunately, a later news report suggests that the state prosecutor’s recommendation was not carried out. In fact, it appears that one of the pair, Bruno Schorcht, was actually promoted in the interim and transferred to another battalion. But, columnist Ancelmo Gois noted on O Globo that Schorcht’s name was “taken off the list” for further promotions.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer