Whipped or not? New Mexico Photographer Denies Allegations

Subhashree Panda

A photographer from New Mexico whose pictures went viral over the internet denied certain rumors that were doing rounds on the web. The photographer captured images of migrants from Haiti who were evacuating a United States migrant camp.

What was the fuss all about?

The pictures of the Haitian migrants started gaining controversial implications from the ‘netizens’ and the United States Border Patrol was the subject of this. The rumor that went around was that the United States Border Patrol agents were whipping the migrants while sitting on horses. This spread like a wildfire over the internet and attracted the attention of United States official as well.
Who was the Photographer in question?
Paul Ratje, the photographer who was responsible for the photographs later on clarified that he and his colleagues did not see anyone using whips on the Haitian migrants. He also stated that the pictures can be misconstrued and no wrong interpretation should be drawn from it. The United States Border Patrol had to bear the brunt of the internet, with people assuming that they indeed whipped the Haitian migrants.

Response from the government of the United States

Ratje, who is a photographer based in Las Cruces, was responsible for clicking the said pictures. He has been in Del Rio since the 17th of this month and takes interest in clicking pictures on the Mexican side of the United States Border. On the 20th of September, Secretary of Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, and the Border Patrol Chief, Raul Ortiz, reported that there was nothing wrong with the photos and footage.
This is not the only instance where certain pictures have been misinterpreted by the Internet. Former President of the United States, Donald Trump was has also been a victim of such Internet rumors as well. The Internet is such a big platform that gives a certain sense of freedom for various opinions. So, there is always a chance of such rumors going viral.

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