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Viral Photo Of Antifa Member Beating Cop Is Fake (Photos)

| by David Bonner

An image which seemingly shows an Antifa member beating a police officer has been revealed as a fake.

The image went viral on social media shortly after the "Unite The Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 13, reports Snopes, the popular fact-checking website.

The rally, which the Southern Poverty Law Center described as "largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States," attracted thousands from neo-Nazi groups, the Ku Klux Klan and other far-right organizations, as reported by The New York Times.

Thousands of counter-protesters were also in attendance, including members of Antifa, which is short for "anti-fascists," and whose origins can be traced to opponents of the Nazi regime in Germany, notes CNN.

President Donald Trump has been widely criticized for his response to the violence at the rally.

According to a New York Times source, a wide range of advisers urged the president to sharply criticize the white nationalists, but instead he placed the blame "on many sides."

The photograph in question shows a cop being beaten by a man wearing a jacket bearing the Antifa logo.

Captions accompanying the photo have echoed Trump's remark, claiming that both sides contributed to the violence and accusing the Democrats of not denouncing the Antifa protestors.

However, the photograph has been digitally manipulated to add the Antifa logo to an unrelated photo, as Snopes discovered by comparing the faked photo to the original.

The real image, which was taken in Athens, Greece, in December 2009, is available on Getty Images. In that photo, the jacket worn by the man beating the cop bears no logo.

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), right-wing extremists in the U.S. have been responsible for far more deaths in the last 10 years than those on the far left, reports The Independent.

ADL statistics show that extremists killed at least 372 people in the U.S. in the last decade, with 74 percent attributable to the far right, compared to 6 percent attributable to the far left.

However, ADL's Marilyn Mayo adds that both sides could be incited to violence in today's political climate.

"You have an escalation of rhetoric and you have people who are willing to fight it out in the streets," she said in an interview with Snopes. "With this political polarization in the country right now, you have people who come dressed for battle, and when they confront each other it can lead to violence."

As for Antifa, despite the faked photograph, the group does engage in violence, notes Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

As quoted by CNN, Levin explains: "What they're trying to do now is not only become prominent through violence at these high-profile rallies, but also to reach out through small meetings and through social networking to cultivate disenfranchised progressives who heretofore were peaceful."

Why the person who created the fake Antifa photo didn't just use a real Antifa photo remains a mystery.

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