We've all seen "dumb criminal" segments on television, now some police agencies are using wisecracks on social media to call out crooks.
Police are increasingly using Facebook and Twitter to inform the community about what they’re doing and who they’re arresting, but civil rights advocates and some criminal justice experts argue some of it amounts to public shaming of people who have yet to be convicted.
“If the purpose is to humiliate and shame an individual that they have made a terrible mistake, but may have happened only once, then I think they are going a bit over what is expected from them by society,” says Dr. Alex del Carmen, executive director School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Tarleton State University.
Dr. Del Carmen says the use of social media has become a major topic in criminal justice classes.
“We have seen a trend across the United States where social media has started riots and protests, and has made people angry against police and police officers angry against civilians,” he says.
He says putting out information is one thing, but adding commentary is where many departments get in trouble.
“The question really is whether a police department should be an instrument to disemminate this information or should they simply put out FYIs on who they have arrested without putting any kind of commentary on it or humiliating that person any further,” says Del Carmen.