By: Sam Doak
June 5 2023
Despite this narrative gaining traction, it has been refuted by the Public Prosecutor's Office, the principal of the school in question, and parents.
On May 24, 2023, a video depicting a transgender woman being attacked by police in Milan was posted on social media. The video shows events that occurred on the same day and quickly went viral on social media platforms.
The video in question shows the woman sitting on the ground while being pepper sprayed, kicked, and beaten with batons by four uniformed police officers. While many online decried the disturbing nature of the footage, others quickly began to question the circumstances that led up to the incident and claim that the woman’s behavior had elicited the officers’ response.
A narrative that gained significant traction following these events was that the woman in the footage had harassed children at a local school before the arrival of police. This was furthered by a community note on Twitter, which claimed, “the transgender individual being subdued by the police had been reported after exposing his penis to school children and threatening to infect people with HIV. He then violently attempted to evade arrest.”
Despite the community note being rated as "helpful" by many Twitter users, subsequent information has come to light that contradicts this narrative.
The community note claiming that the woman shown in this viral footage had exposed herself to children and “violently attempted to evade arrest” cited sources that based their accounts on information given by SIULP, a union representing police officers in Italy.
While SIULP’s version of events was among the first to circulate, it has been refuted by official sources. According to the Italian outlet L’Espresso, the Public Prosecutor's Office in Milan has clarified that the woman was approached by police for entirely different reasons than those cited by the union. In its coverage, as translated from Italian, L’Espresso states, “The officers reportedly intervened, according to the prosecutors, for reporting noises by the transsexual woman, but not for obscene acts in front of the children of an elementary school. The prosecutor's office opened a file for injuries aggravated by the abuse of the civil service in the case.”
According to the Italian fact-checking outlet Facta, the local school's principal and parents have “confirmed that no one reported harassment and disturbances in front of the school that morning.”
It should be noted that there is no record of the woman shown in the video being charged for exposing herself to children. Despite this reportedly occurring in a public setting, no evidence has come to light that suggests this occurred.
Despite an initial statement given by SIULP, there is no evidence that the woman beaten in this viral video exposed herself to school children. The Public Prosecutor's Office in Milan has publicly refuted this narrative. This claim has therefore been marked as false.