A police union in Portugal attributes a series of photos depicting elderly victims of phsyical abuse to crimes commited in Portugal, but the photos were taken from old news stories in the UK and Brazil.
The images of four elderly people that were beaten-up have been shared on social networks alongside the photographs of three suspected violent robbers who fled a Porto Criminal Investigation Court at the time they were captured.
The association that is made in the various publications is that the elderly were victims of suspected assaults as a way of justifying and exonerating the fact that a Public Security Police (PSP) police union published a photograph of the suspects at the time of their arrest, according to Observador.
On Saturday, it was the turn of another PSP union, the Vertical de Carreiras da Polícia, to use the images of battered elderly to attack the statements of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita.
The problem is that the images were of battered elderly victims in other countries and not by the suspects captured in Gondomar.
The photos used by the police union were shared and commented on thousands of times in the last two days on social networks.
While the police union may have used the photos to highlight what the atrocity of beating-up elderly people looks like, it did so in a way that made it seem that the photos were of victims of the Portuguese suspects in question, which is false.
On the left side of the montage below is the image of the suspects at the time of capture and on the right side are four elderly people who were beaten and falsely presented as victims of the alleged offenders.
So if the people on the right in the above photos were not victims of physical abuse in Portugal, where did they come from?
The first image on the top right is Catherine Smith, an English elderly woman who was violently assaulted with a dog leash on July 27, 2017 in South London, UK. The story was reported on July 31, 2017 by the BBC and various other media outlets.
The second image moving down on the right corresponds to an elderly man who was brutally beaten in November 2015 at in Barra da Tijuca, in the western zone of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. John Charles Junyent, 78, was a chef and owner of La Botticella restaurant in Barra da Tijuca and was attacked by a man who had been his employee for four years. The case was reported by Globo’s Extra newspaper on November 23, 2015.
The third image on the right corresponds to an elderly man who was beaten in Tremedal, Bahia, Brazil, in July 2013. The elderly man lived on a farm, away from the center of the city. The robbers were looking for money because they would have known that the old man had just sold a car. The case was reported by G1, Globo, on July 15, 2013.
The fourth and final image of the sequence at the bottom right corresponds to Barbara Bransfield, a 63-year-old woman who was attacked by two men at home in the early hours of July 19, 2016, in the Manchester area of the United Kingdom. The story was told by the British edition of the newspaper Metro, on December 30, 2016 when an indictment against the attackers was filed.
A fact check of the images proves that the elderly were not victims of the Portuguese suspects, but of attacks carried out in other countries. The elderly beaten in Portugal have nothing to do with those that appear in the shared images.
The PSP itself was also criticized for allowing photographs of the battered elderly (which are expected to appear in the police inquiries) to be released. That was not the case. PSP agents released the photo of the suspects in an “unworthy position,” but not of the victims.
After being questioned by Observador about the dissemination of the images, the union explained that “it does not have access in any way to details or to any other facts contained in the Crime Process because it is in the Secret of Justice.”
The vice-president of the union also added that “even if [the case] was not [in secrecy of justice] it is not the case that PSP investigators divulge facts in them, because they are effectively professionals of great competence, recognized by all, from magistrates of Public Ministry, judges or even lawyers.”