Greek Police Under Fire After ‘Shopping Injuries Out of Mug Shots


Mug shots and airbrushing are both photography-related, but they aren’t commonly found together in stories. Not so with some ongoing controversy over in Greece, though. The police there may soon be under investigation after releasing a number of mug shots that appear to have been Photoshopped.

Why would they ‘shop photos of suspected criminals, you ask? The claim is that the images were edited to hide injuries that were inflicted by officers during (or after) the arrests.

The mug shots in question were released by the police earlier this month after they arrested four men who had attempted to rob a bank. The men look pretty normal in the mug shots, but press photographs captured around the same time tell a different story: they show serious cuts and bruises on the faces — injuries that apparently disappeared magically by the time the men were booked.

In the side-by-side comparison above, the official mug shot released by the police (left) shows 20-year-old suspect Nikolaos Romanos with strangely smooth skin under his left eye. A second photo published by the photo agency Eurokinissi (right) shows Romanos at the time of his arrest with a noticeable black eye.

A closer look at the clearly 'shopped area of the mugshot

A closer look at the clearly ‘shopped area of the mug shot

Now people are accusing the police of viciously beating the suspects sometime during or after the arrest, and then covering up their deeds with digital trickery.

What’s interesting is that the authorities aren’t denying the use of Photoshop. Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias has actually acknowledged it, but is defending the use, saying,

Photoshop was used and I – just like you, just like any reasonable person – asked why was this done? Because if they hadn’t been Photoshopped, in order to make them resemble an image that the average person would recognize them in, then the photos wouldn’t have been published in the first place.

Reuters reports that a Greek prosecutor is now asking for an inquiry into whether the mug shots were edited in order to cover up police brutality.

(via Reuters via The Verge)

  • Digital Philosopher

    When it comes to the greek regime – sorry, I meant government – nothing surprises me any more

  • bob cooley

    And the lesson here is: don’t rob banks (especially in Greece)…

  • aa

    i wonder if they use a legal copy of photshop

  • Samcornwell

    They need to hire a better post-processor.

  • Samuel

    I can see the reasoning behind it, mugshots are there to identify criminals, they aren’t going to have cuts and bruises in a months time. That being said i am suspicious of police in general and this does seem somewhat shifty.

    Also they didnt even do a good job of it.

  • Andrew

    They deserve this treatment… In fact the police officers was very gentile.

  • Andres Trujillo

    I don’t know if he was Jewish or not, but he was gentle considering the situation… sorry, couldn’t help myself

  • Michael Lieberman

    With the way things are going with the police in Greece lately, if he was Jewish they would have killed him.

  • David Liang

    Oh that’s a terrible excuse, you shopped it so they’d be recognizable in the mug shots? Clone stamping out an already deformed feature doesn’t bring back the guys original face. If they were so concerned with accurate images they should take the initial mug shot, and then take a replacement shot after the suspects have healed. If that kind of proper and rational procedure can’t be done, then they have some other serious issues aside from photoshop they should answer for.

  • David Liang

    What ever the situation was that caused the injuries is another story, deserving or not is up for the people involved to decide. The problem with this story is that police are intentionally altering their own evidence, that opens up the doors to can of worms that should not be opened.

  • David Portass

    yeah, photoshoping essentially a legal document (the mug shot) is bad, whether or not it was the police that caused the injuries on purpose or accident during the arrest or even caused by another member of the public it is evidence to be used for proving identity of the person. Regardless, the guy wouldn’t be in this position in the first place if he didn’t try to rob a bank, no sympathy for any injuries he received in the process of committing a crime.

  • Ken Jones

    Yeah, I’m not buying it either. If they were so concerned with identity then they should have made him stand up straight. Plus, the prisoner needs to be identified for movements throughout the jail, not for months or years down the road. You’d want those bruises there to help positively ID him. Heck, the unique bruises would help differentiate two subjects that look similar.

    I call shenanigans here.

  • Bleker

    these are people who are illegal immigrants who should not be in in Greece. They have no way to make a living so the are stealing and more. This is a real plague for big cities. And yes on this moment Greece understands that they have to clean up there act. People who come with good intensions are welcome. the rest not

  • hc

    A better solution for them: stop beating up your suspects…

  • tonster

    ?! Why do you say that? Those criminals where caught with AK-47s robbing 2 banks and have connections with terrorist organisations. I know of other more ‘civilised’ countries that would shoot them on sight for less.

  • GreekGuy

    Now really? Ok. Hear me now. For your information, the youngster depicted here is not an illegal immigrant – not even an immigrant – just a 20 year old greek kid whose close friend has been murdered in cold blood 5 years ago in Greece. Remember the Greek riots in 2008? This was the incident that ignited them, and this kid could be the murdered one. He just happened to be standing some feet away from his murdered friend, Alexandros Grigoropoulos. Imagine this. Back in 2008 he was a 15 year old kid who went for a walk with his friend, Alexandros, and a cop shot at them. Trust me I live in Greece 32 years now…

  • Orlando 林安徒生 Andersson

    soo badly done xD

  • GreekGuy

    I live in Greece since I was born (that would be 32 years…) so, to correct you, I would say “And the lesson here is: if you want to get away while being arrested with heavy weapons join the fascist movement that is in rise nowadays in Greece”…

  • GreekGuy

    Sorry guys but I totally lost you! What exactly is the thing with Jewish citizens in Greece at the moment? I ask because I live in Greece since I was born and there is no such thing as mistreatment of jewish people. The only thing that is going on nowadays is that greek society had to invent “some other jews”, the so-called “illegal immigrants” to blame them for everything that goes bad. And this is the reason why the fascist movement rises these days in Greece.

  • Ayush Prasai

    screw netflix! i think i might actually pay to watch the greek police’s photoshop tutorial video!

  • Samuel

    Far be it from me to defend the police (who i largely dislike) but there is a substantial difference between police brutality and subduing a suspect. The cut on the side of his face is pretty standard in being wrestled to the ground by the cops. I speak from experience, bastards broke my lens :|

  • bob cooley

    so to correct my joke? okkaayyyy…..

  • Daniel

    They say “the men look pretty normal…” first of all thats not a man in the photo, thats a teenage kid. In the USA when a celebrity is arrested looking like hell, our cops dont go in and make them look like they normally look. If the mug shot is being use in a wanted poster, okay got it… if not why not post both photos, one saying ” this is how the subject would normally appear”. either way using a little healing tool isnt going to fix the broken bones in his face, nor will it take away all the swelling. why not pull a photo off his facebook page if you wanna show how he normally would look?

  • Daniel

    they probably strong armed a copy from adobe.

  • Dave

    They should be made to pay for their crimes. This is such an egregious and despicable crime against photo retouchers everywhere. Awful work.