Post falsely claims youths arrested for just stealing chips

FactCheck July 18, 2019

The Statement

AAP FactCheck examined a Facebook post showing Victoria Police officers arresting three young African men for allegedly stealing a bag of chips.

This Facebook post from May 31, 2019 claimed Victorian Police arrested African teenagers for just stealing chips.

The footage was live-streamed on Facebook for over 38 minutes on May 31, 2019 and was accompanied by a caption that reads: “Disgusting abuse of power and definite racism! 3 African youths arrested for suspected stealing a bag of chips with excessive force and brutality…Just watch!” and “Why I do NOT respect police!”

The video shows three men being arrested outside the Tang Food Emporium in Melbourne. At one point during the video one of the young men can be heard screaming for water after he’d been pepper sprayed.

The post received about 800 reactions and shares and had been viewed over 51,000 times.

The Analysis

AAP FactCheck contacted Victoria Police, which confirmed police were called to Russell Street in Melbourne on May 31, 2019 around 10pm.

A screen shot from the Facebook video post showing police officers making their arrests.

“Public Order Response Team police charged three offenders with theft and a range of other offences including resist police, unlawful assault and possession of a controlled weapon after an incident in a Swanston Street supermarket,” Victoria Police told AAP FactCheck in a statement.

According to police, the three alleged offenders fled the scene when police arrived and were pepper sprayed. “Aftercare was later provided to those affected,” Victoria Police said in a statement.

Police also said the three men were bailed to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

The Verdict 

Based on this evidence, AAP FactCheck found the caption claiming the men were arrested for “suspected stealing a bag of chips” to be false as they were arrested and charged on suspicion of committing a number of offences.

  • False – The Facebook post is false.

 First published Thursday July 18, 2019 15:35 AEST

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