Should Police Post Suspect Photos?
LAFAYETTE, Georgia (WDEF) – LaFayette Police Department posted two potential suspects in a shoplifting crime scene Friday morning.
It was an effort to seek help from the public in searching for the suspects identities.
The reason a majority of law enforcement agencies utilize Facebook and other social media platforms is because of its effectiveness.
But considering the suspects involved haven’t been arrested or convicted, is it ethical?
Police departments around the country have policies on posting suspect information online for the public to see and attorney Benjamin Bradford says the Lafayette department did everything the right way.
“I think that they should be commended for using all the tools that are at their disposal including social media.”
Bradford believes in the constitutional right that you’re innocent until proven guilty but the challenge for him as a defense attorney is that the public may jump to conclusions before a trial is set.
“Once somebody’s name is shown in the media associated with an arrest, immediately a large portion of the community that person is guilty.”
But he doesn’t believe the authorities or influential members of society are to blame.
“I don’t think that that’s a law enforcement problem and I don’t think that it’s a news or social media problem. I think it’s a cultural problem that we need to deal with. Because as much as I dislike someone being convicted just because their name, picture and face are being put out there, the opposite of that would be way worse which would be the government is trying to silence what they’re doing.”