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Man escaping police in video not Usain Bolt

A video has been shared on Facebook in Nigeria with the claim it shows Jamaican sprinter and Olympic world-record holder Usain Bolt being arrested during a protest.

In the video, a handcuffed man wearing a face mask is led to a police van by heavily armed officers. But before he’s put in the van, he escapes and sprints away. 

Posted on 4 June 2020, the video is dubbed with commentary from Bolt's 100 meters gold medal win at the 2012 London Olympics

It’s captioned: “Na wa o! Olympic champion, Usain Bolt, arrested during protest... so sad.” It’s been viewed more than 10,000 times. 

But does it really show Bolt being arrested? We checked. 

Video from US

The video appears to have been filmed in the US. The vehicles have “POLICE” written across them and look like US police cars. One clearly shows a US flag

Protests erupted across the US after George Floyd, a black man, was killed in police custody in the city of Minneapolis on 25 May. A white officer had pinned Floyd to the ground and knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.

Considering that the man in the video is wearing a face mask, which is required in public across many US states to stop the spread of Covid-19, it seems likely the video is recent, and of an arrest in the US. 

Bolt in Jamaica, no reports of arrest

According to Bolt’s verified Twitter account, his location is Kingston, the capital of Jamaica.

And according to the latest update on his official website, on 3 June, the day before the video was shared on Facebook, Bolt was in Kingston, donating equipment to a local hospital. 

There is no mention of any arrest on any of the sprinter’s social media channels. And the incident hasn’t been reported by any major news organisation. 

Originally posted as joke

The social media handle “@vybzblender” is briefly overlaid across the video. An online search led us to a Twitter account with the same handle. 

The account has shared the video repeatedly. The description in the Twitter account says “Blended Art” and “#blendedvideos #cutdifferent”. This points to the video and the audio not being related. 

The video is also credited to @vybzblender in a number of posts on Facebook. But in these instances, the audio is understood as being humorous commentary to the visuals, as shown but comments such as “This is hilarious” and “A lil track & field humour to break up the serious nature of life right now.” 

We also found the same clip on YouTube, without credit to @vybzblender, where it is captioned: “GEORGE FLOYD | PROTESTOR ESCAPES FROM POLICE AND RUNS LIKE USAIN BOLT.” 

It seems that the video was originally posted as a joke, and the man compared to Bolt because he ran so fast. It didn’t claim Bolt was arrested. – Africa Check


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