Conservative Websites Falsely Claimed This Video Shows A "Migrant" Stealing From A Car

Metropolitan Police told BuzzFeed News that its records indicate the man is a UK national, but that hasn't stopped the false, anti-immigrant claims from spreading.

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In early June a man was riding a rented bike through a west London neighborhood when he noticed an unlocked Range Rover. He popped the trunk and began stealing items from the car.

Police soon arrived on the scene after being alerted to the crime thanks to CCTVs in the area. An officer knocked the thief off his bike using the door of the police vehicle. Then they arrested him.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council / Via youtube.com

The footage of the arrest was first posted to YouTube in early July by the local council, and the offender was identified as Jake Nedd, 31, of no fixed address. He was eventually sentenced to 28 weeks in prison. The story was widely covered by British media thanks to the compelling video of police "bumping" him off his bike.

That would be the end of the story if it weren't for a YouTube video that helped transform the footage into a piece of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim propaganda.

The arrest video was uploaded to YouTube July 13 with a new, false title, "Migrant Steals from a Car But a Surprise Awaits Him." Metropolitan Police told BuzzFeed News that based on its records, "the man charged was recorded as a UK national." Meaning: he is not a immigrant.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

That version of the video was uploaded by a YouTube user named "Toxic Male" whose about page declares "Feminism, SJWs, BLM, PC, Islamization, cultural Marxism, communism" to be bullshit.

In spite of police confirming there is no evidence the man is a immigrant, the claim and video began spreading to hyperpartisan conservative and anti-Muslim websites. Waynedupree.com referred to the man as a "Muslim Migrant." Madworldnews.com called him a "Sneaky Migrant."

Wayne Dupree / Mad World News

Wayne Dupree also falsely claimed the man had tried to steal the Range Rover. Along with those sites, the story was picked up by barenakedislam.com, which has the motto, "It isn't Islamophobia when they really ARE trying to kill you."

The most shared version of the false story was published by conservativefighters.com and was posted on a related Facebook page with more than 2.4 million fans.

Conservative Media / Facebook / Via Facebook: ConservativeMediaPage

That false story was also shared by three other Facebook pages that are controlled by the owner of that site. BuzzFeed News confirmed using domain registration records that the owner of the site is a young man from Veles, Macedonia, which is home to many pro-Trump conservative websites.

The story from his site contains many grammatical errors and typos. "It is time to stand up against these sorts of things and let them know that we do not want their coulure [sic] ruining ours," reads one passage.

That and the other false stories are generating hateful, violent comments on Facebook. One man expressed regret that the thief's head wasn't crushed by the police van, and referred to immigrants as "primitive animals" who "rob, rape, murder."

Conservative Media / Facebook / Via Facebook: ConservativeMediaPage

"Get them out of your country. You see they are worthless people," said another woman.

The stories continue to spread and the falsely titled video has 60,000 views as of this writing.

Craig Silverman is Media Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto.

Contact Craig Silverman at craig.silverman@buzzfeed.com.

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