MORRISTOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Morristown officials say a photo that allegedly depicts border patrol agents arresting someone in front of a local business is a fake. Mayor Timothy Dougherty says it didn’t take police long to figure it out.

“When you print the picture it’s pretty obvious it’s superimposed,” he said at a Wednesday press conference. “But when you get it on your cell phone, it’s small, it’s hard to decipher what it is.”

They also told concerned residents that the town won’t have its police officers perform the work of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.


Officials say the photo being circulated on social media was digitally altered and is a hoax. Still, it’s generated fear among the local Latino community.

“People were afraid to go to their homes that lived around that business,” Dougherty said. “That business has had a loss in revenue.”

Dougherty says some Latino residents have been afraid to send their children to school or visit local businesses because they fear they will be detained or deported. He also says they shouldn’t be afraid to call police if they need help.

WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reports that police determined the altered photo came from the smartphone application What’s App, which is used in 180 countries by one billion people. As a result, the mayor says finding the culprit may be like finding a needle in a haystack.

About one-third of Morristown’s population is Hispanic.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)