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Fact check: False claim that Michigan attorney general is warning of gang tactics

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 6/30/2022 BrieAnna J. Frank, USA TODAY

The claim: Michigan attorney general is warning about gang tactics aimed at drivers 

Social media users are sharing a post that claims to have information from officials in Michigan about gang violence targeting drivers. 

“A message from the Office of the Attorney General state of Michigan,” begins a June 4 Facebook post that was shared nearly 500 times in 10 days. 

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 The post describes a purported incident in which a driver spotted an infant car seat on the site of the road, called the Canton Police Department and was told it was a luring tactic used by gangs to harm or kill those who stopped to help. It also urged drivers not to stop if eggs are thrown on their windshield while driving, saying that it is a tactic to reduce visibility and force drivers to pull over. Additionally, it said if drivers are unsure whether a vehicle attempting to pull them over is legitimate, they can call 112 to tell emergency dispatch they are not pulling over right away.

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But the Michigan Department of Attorney General said it did not issue any such warning, and the incidents described are not known to be widespread gang tactics.

USA TODAY reached out to user who shared the claim for comment.

Attorney general urges public to scrutinize information before posting

In a June 8 statement, Attorney General Dana Nessel said the information in the post did not come from her office. 

The Canton Police Department did not have reports on any such incident, Nessel said. The department did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.

“This is a reminder that you should scrutinize posts you see on social media before sharing them to your networks,” Nessel said.

Lynsey Mukomel, a spokesperson for the attorney general, told USA TODAY in a June 15 email the office had no additional information to provide on the matter.

Similar claims have been circulating for years. The attorney general’s statement was prompted by a request from Check Your Fact, which debunked the claims in a June 8 article. 

PolitiFact in 2019 dispelled rumors that police departments were warning the public about gangs throwing eggs on windshields. The outlet found that those warnings dated back to 2009 but could not find any widespread reports of such incidents happening in the United States. USA TODAY debunked a similar claim in 2021.

The claim that a driver can call 112 to let law enforcement know they're not pulling over right away is also misleading. It would only work since some cell phone providers in the United States automatically forward those calls to 911 because 112 is an emergency number in Europe, according to WUSA in Washington D.C. There is no special 112 line.

More: Michigan AG offers to conduct 'extensive investigation' into Oxford school officials' actions before deadly shooting

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that the Michigan attorney general is warning about gang tactics aimed at drivers. The office of the Michigan attorney general has said the claims are false, and there is no evidence the incidents described are widespread gang tactics. 

Our fact-check sources: 

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim that Michigan attorney general is warning of gang tactics



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