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No, photo not of woman ‘kidnapped and beaten’ by George Floyd

A screenshot widely shared on Facebook in South Africa shows a woman with a bloody and bruised face, one eye swollen shut.

“Aracely Henriquez was the woman kidnapped and brutally beaten by George #Floyd and his five accomplices, as they searched her home for drugs and money,” the text reads.

“She was pregnant at the time, and he asked her if she wanted him to kill her baby.”

George Floyd, a black man, died at the hands of police officers in the US city of Minneapolis. His death was recorded in a nearly nine-minute video, and sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the US and the world.

The screenshot has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. Is its story accurate? 

Woman raped in Spain

A reverse image search reveals that the woman is Andrea Sicignano, not Aracely Henriquez. Sicignano posted the photo on Facebook on 19 December 2018 with an account of being beaten and raped at a bus stop in the early hours of the morning in Madrid, Spain.

The post went viral, with more than 45,000 shares and 13,000 comments. Her story has been reported by Spain’s El Pais newspaper, the US NY Daily News and the UK’s Daily Mail.

Sicignano is a US citizen. On 12 June 2020 she denounced posts using her photo in relation to Floyd.

“The photo was taken of me in a hospital bed in Spain after being violently beaten and raped by a stranger,” she wrote on Facebook.

“Today my photo is being used as political propaganda/click bait to make people believe that George Floyd deserved to die. I am disgusted and humiliated, not for myself, but for my country.”

Floyd imprisoned for aggravated robbery

Floyd’s brushes with the law have been reported by many media outlets.

According to court documents obtained by the AFP, Floyd was charged with nine different offences from 1997 to 2007.

In 2007 he was charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. According to court documents he entered the home of a woman identified as Aracely Henriquez and pointed a gun at her while his accomplices searched the premises. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison. 

The court documents do not mention the woman being pregnant. – Naledi Mashishi


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