Mayor: Photo showing border patrol agents making arrests in Morristown is a hoax

Morristown officials say a photo that allegedly depicts border patrol agents arresting someone in front of a local business is a fake.

Mayor Tim Dougherty says that the photo being circulated on Facebook and WhatsApp was digitally altered and is a hoax. 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.

The mayor says business in town actually dropped by 25 percent.

About one-third of Morristown's population is Hispanic. Dougherty says that while Morristown is not officially a sanctuary city, the town won't have its police officers perform the work of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

"We're a safe and welcoming community and they have nothing to fear and all people in Morristown deserve that right to be protected and they are," Dougherty says.

Town officials are trying to determine who circulated the photos. Surveillance footage shows that on Feb. 22 around 4 p.m. a gray car was parked in front of Lizeth Xpress. It's believed the person inside the car took a picture of the business which also had a cop car there for an unrelated matter.

That photo was then photoshopped to make it seem as if border patrol agents were in front of the business.

The mayor says he is working with clergy to calm the citizens and will hold a town-wide forum as well. 

A municipal ID program is also being worked on and should be ready soon.

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