On Saturday, a video appeared on social media showing a man holding an object resembling a gun and aiming it at people in one of Wrocław’s housing estates. Gazeta Wrocławska wrote about the case on the same day, giving a specific interpretation to the event. The title of the article read:
A man aimed his gun at people and spoke with an Eastern accent. Dramatic scenes in Wrocław, in the heart of a large housing estate.
In this text, we explain that the man in the video is holding a pellet gun and, according to his testimony given to the police, he was acting in self-defence.
Ukrainian, weapon, and biased article
In the original article by Gazeta Wrocławska, which is owned by Orlen, the editorial team referred to the account of an anonymous witness who described the event in the following way:
There were two Poles and a group of Ukrainians. There was a fight. At one point, one of the Poles took a brick and, in self-defence, hit the man with a beard on the head. In retaliation, the foreigner smashed a glass bottle over the Pole’s head. Two Poles ran away scared, but they left behind a shopping bag. After a while, they returned to retrieve the bag and the Ukrainians attacked them again, and then one of them pulled out a gun – said the eye witness.
The video of the event, along with the description of the situation by journalists from Gazeta Wrocławska, has become the current narrative on the Internet.
There were also posts suggesting that the man in the video was holding a Colt pistol. User PikuśPol suggested that the Ukrainian should be deported for this act. His tweet has been viewed 250,000 times.
Verification of the event
We went to the scene of the incident on Monday and had the opportunity to talk to the witness of the event – the cashier – and the participant who is visible in the recording circulating on the Internet. The Ukrainian is an employee of Żabka. According to him, on Saturday afternoon a group of five Poles were drinking alcohol in front of the store where he works. He went outside to tell them that it was forbidden and that they were making it difficult for customers to enter. The men, hearing the Eastern accent of the store employee, allegedly refused, saying that they would not follow the Ukrainian’s orders. The employee then said he would call the police. While waiting for the officers to arrive, the store employee went out with the store’s agent, also a Ukrainian. Then a fight broke out, as a result of which the Poles allegedly used pepper spray and hit one of the men in the head with a stone.
Then, Żabka’s agent took out a toy, a pellet gun, and thus scared away the troublesome men. Żabka employees reported this event to the police. The injured employee performed an autopsy on the head wound.
Information from the Municipal Police Headquarters
In an interview with us, Senior Asst. Aleksandra Freus, spokeswoman for the Municipal Police Headquarters in Wrocław, confirmed that the object the Ukrainians used to scare away the brawling men was a dummy weapon in the form of a pellet gun. She also said that none of the Poles who participated in the fight reported to the police until Monday afternoon.
Gazeta Wrocławska updated its article the next day based on the testimony given by the store employees. To this day, however, the article includes the sentence that “a young man with an Eastern accent was pointing a gun at passers-by.” According to the participants of the event, the victims injured in this situation were the store employees. They also told this version to the police. Gazeta Wrocławska, in a clickbait fashion, published a clearly biased article with false theses, which became a contribution to anti-Ukrainian narratives on the Internet. That is why it is so important to check facts and rely on official communications from the services.