The musings and claims of the supposed photoshopped photo of George have remain persistent enough to address and O’Mara mentioned it in an interview as well so I though I would address it here.
To clear up some confusion, the main charge is not that the Defense or State supposedly altered the photo, though claims of that nature I’m sure are out there, rather, the SPD officer who took the photo supposedly altered it. Why? Because he is racist and/or just likes George and wanted to help out by altering the photo to make it appear worse than the reality.
As explained in the discovery (p18), Officer Michael Wagner took the photo of George while George was seated in Officer Timothy Smiths patrol car on the night of the Feb 26 before being transported to the police station for questioning. Wagner transferred the photo from his I-Phone to his department issued laptop and deleted the photo off his I-Phone. On March 21 the lead Investigator received an email from Wagner with the file of the photo attached (p64).
I always like to remind folks when dealing with these sorts of things that the one who makes the claim bears the burden to prove that claim. As a recipient of the claim I bear no burden to prove the claim false. This is often a logical fallacy committed by desperate emotional people known as shifting the burden of proof. The desired result being if I can’t prove otherwise than this makes the claim a fact of reality. I’ll spare you the long explanation for now that elaborates on that further.
Fortunately, for this particular instance, we have the original file to which we can look at the EXIF data that is embedded within. This is why I left the above photo horizontal rather than corrected to it’s vertical position, that is it’s original form. And so with that we will see how this particular charge of supposed photo alteration began.
When O’Mara received the photo from the State he uploaded it to his website on December 3. There you can see the photo has been shifted to the vertical position. Using software to examine that photo, for this I’ll be using a FireFox AddOn https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/exif-viewer/?src=search
It is the entry “Software/Firmware Version = GIMP 2.8.2″ that started the ball rolling on this claim because GIMP is a photo editing software with ability to manipulate photographs. But just because a photo was run through GIMP, or any other photo editing software for that matter, does not in and of itself mean that it has in fact been altered to deceive. It may have been, which is more than likely the case here, just simply moved from the horizontal position to the vertical position and if you notice the “Last Modified Date/Time” just happens to be the same date O’Mara uploaded the photo.
If you take the time to notice, O’Mara also included a link to the photo in it’s original form.
As an amateur film maker and photographer I also have ten years of experience in film, video, photography and various editing software including audio as well. Examining the photo itself I could find no clear signs of manipulation.