Fact check: Photo of arrest not altered by CNN to make skin darker

Users on social media are sharing a post that falsely alleges CNN altered the skin tone of a man being arrested. The image points to the leg of the man being arrested, which appears to be a lighter skin tone than his face, to claim the image was photoshopped. This is false.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

The video filmed at the scene, which shows a man being arrested in Manchester, England in 2019, was not altered and it is featured on several media outlets. Reuters independently verified the footage when the incident happened. At the time, Reuters spoke to the source directly, who posted the footage shortly after filming it on his commute.

The text on the posts reads “CNN is at it again. Putting a black guy’s head on a lily white dude to push an agenda”. Different iterations of the claim are visible here , here , here , here , here , here .

The post features two cropped screengrabs (minute 0:06 and 0:08) of a user generated video visible here . The footage shows a man being held down by a police officer outside Arndale shopping center in Manchester on October 11, 2019, after a stabbing incident that injured five people ( here ).

According to a statement by the Greater Manchester Police, the attacker, who was initially arrested on suspicion of committing a terrorism offence, was compulsorily detained under the Mental Health Act ( here ).

The footage was not exclusively used by CNN ( here ). Other media outlets that featured these images in their coverage include Reuters ( here ), the BBC ( here ), The Telegraph, ( here ), The Guardian ( ) and CBS ( ).

A spokesperson for CNN confirmed that the same footage was used in CNN reports as other outlets, and there was “no indication the photo was altered.”

Another video of the incident here and here shows the arrested man and his leg from a different angle.


False. CNN did not photoshop the skin tone of a man being arrested in Manchester.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here  .