Do Mugshots and Public Comment Belong on Police "Wanted" Suspect Social Media Posts?
Most social media allow a Sheriff or Police department to post about a “wanted” suspect, which usually includes a mugshot of the suspect. Recently, Nextdoor changed policy to disallow posting of mugshots. However not every agency knows of or adheres to this policy. The Plano Police just posted one this week on Nextdoor.
More importantly, most of these wanted suspect posts stay open for public comment. Too many of these public comments are racist, bigoted. It’s as if the American public believes in US justice being “guilty until proven innocent.” People forget that a wanted suspect is not yet convicted - and may be proven innocent.
Mugshot alternative: An agency can share link to their police website to view the mugshot. People are lazy in following links. But let's not make it easy to screen grab mugshots and post them all over social media.
Rude, bigoted, racist public comments: Agencies need to block public comment when they first post “wanted” suspect info. If the public has information or tips then the post indicates how to contact the police. This is definitely what drove me to leave Facebook permanently. Disgusting public comments on these posts run rampant on Facebook.
What We Can Do to Help on Social Media
If I notice nasty replies to a wanted suspect post on Nextdoor, here's my tips:
1. I remain polite and use “I” voice in speaking with someone who is making bigoted statements
2. I ask reflective questions.
3. Another strategy that works well sometimes with particularly angry or desperate people, “Are you feeling okay?”
I reported the Plano Police post on Nextdoor for including the mugshot this past week. You can too in the future by writing directly to firstname.lastname@example.org A link to the post AND a screen shot of the same post helps to attached.
Above is a polite and productive conversation I had this week with someone who was shocked at my comments about reporting a posting on Nextdoor for including a mugshot. Sometimes one conversation can have ripple effects. I remain an optimist.