Fact check: Mugshot of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is altered – USA TODAY

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Following the arrest of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and 16 other members of Congress on July 19 during an abortion rights demonstration at the Supreme Court, misinformation has spread online.
A total of 35 arrests were made for “crowding, obstructing or incommoding” after demonstrators blocked a street, U.S. Capitol Police said in a press release.
Now a viral image circulating on social media purports to show a mugshot of Ocasio-Cortez.
“AOC mugshot released,” reads a July 19 tweet, which garnered over 1,000 likes and 9,000 retweets.
A July 20 Facebook post that shared the image accumulated more than 500 reaction and nearly 200 shares within two days.
“A lot of people have been suggesting AOC wasn’t really arrested yesterday but she was! Look – I can prove it: here’s the mugshot,” reads the post.
But the photo is altered.
Digital forensic experts told USA TODAY the image is manipulated. There are no official mugshots of Ocasio-Cortez because she was never taken into custody. Demonstrators were fined but were not booked into jail, a Capitol Police spokesperson told USA TODAY.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the claim for comment.
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An image of Ocasio-Cortez from an interview with Glenn Greenwald for the Intercept in 2018 appears to have been used in the digitally altered photo.
“The evidence is overwhelmingly high that the mugshot was created from the image by splicing,” said Siwei Lyu, a digital forensics expert at the University of Buffalo.
Lyu said two computer vision algorithms indicated clear instances of manipulation in the smoothness of Ocasio-Cortez’s face and the background of the fake mugshot.
“The picture is clearly modified,” said Umit Karabiyik, a digital forensics expert at Purdue University. “You can simply see the blurred neck and skin color differences for the face and below neck.” 
There are no official releases of Ocasio-Cortez’s mugshot since no one was taken into custody, according to Tim Barber, a spokesperson for the Capitol Police.
“As is standard for peaceful, planned protests, those who were arrested were ticketed and released on-site,” Barber told USA TODAY in an email exchange. “Nobody was handcuffed as is standard for a noncustodial arrest. … They have up to 15 days to pay a $50 fine or they can have a hearing.” 
Based on our research, we rate ALTERED an image that purports to show a mugshot of Ocasio-Cortez. The mugshot is manipulated. No mugshot of Ocasio-Cortez was taken in this incident since she wasn’t taken into custody, police said.
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Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

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