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A man who falsely claimed to be best friends with the 18-year-old black teenager whom a St. Louis police officer shot dead on Tuesday night has learned what happens when you lie to the Internet.
The shooting, which took place outside a Mobil gas station a few miles from Ferguson, Mo., left a victim reportedly named Antonio Martin dead from a gunshot wound. The Huffington Post’s original story on the shooting included an interview with a man who said he was with Martin at the time:
Jesus Christo, 18, told The Huffington Post that he and Martin were stopped by an officer who said they fit the descriptions of recent robbery suspects. Christo declined to speak over the phone, but spoke through direct messages on Twitter.
The officer attempted to search Martin, who refused, Christo said.
“The officer then stepped back and drew his weapon and pointed at Antonio and told us to lay on the ground,” Christo said. “I layed [sic] down but Antonio Refused [sic].”
As it turned out, this was a complete fabrication.
Tell The Huffington Post to do a better job of finding credible sources.
— the son of a bitch (@DesJuanTheThug) December 24, 2014
The shadowy collective known as Anonymous was not laughing. They responded to “Christo’s” lies by doxing the operator of the account.
The Huffington Post’s story now contains this correction regarding their sourcing: “A previous version of this story included an interview with a man claiming to have been at the scene of the shooting and friends with the deceased. As police have released statements saying the second person involved in the incident has fled the scene, the source is now suggesting he was never there.”
Eric Geller is a politics reporter who focuses on cybersecurity, surveillance, encryption, and privacy. A former staff writer at the Daily Dot, Geller joined Politico in June 2016, where he's focused on policymaking at the White House, the Justice Department, the State Department, and the Commerce Department.