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NJ Police Unleash Their Own Brand of Public Shaming

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LEGAL STATUS: IT'S COMPLICATED
DailyFeed
If you haven't already, now is really the time you turn off public notifications for photo tags.

New Jersey police in Evesham Township have fired up an official Facebook profile and, for the past six months, have included photos and personal information of arrested suspects. The alleged crimes are as varied as the mugshots: shoplifting, arson, drunk driving, even one suspected child pornographer. The page has proven quite popular, earning over 5,500 fans as of press time.

"This arms the public with information and puts a face with a name," Evesham police Lt. Walt Miller told the Courier-Post. "We've got a lot of information on our wall. We're only as good as the information the public gives us."

But despite a wall post which stresses "ALL PERSONS ON THIS PAGE ARE INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW," folks who have run afoul of the Evesham badge are complaining their reputation is tarnished even without a conviction. Rutgers law professor Bernard Bell argues that it could be considered a violation of privacy.

Bell told the Courier-Post, "I suppose there might be a potential defamation claim where posting a picture and information was negligent and the suspect isn't a public figure." He added, "It seems at the very least to be bad policy and inappropriate for a police department to do." Yeah, the next thing you know, police officers could have a predisposed bad reputation.

Contrary to Bell's words, Lt. Miller countered that the Facebook profile still follows the department's policy on public record and media releases.

And come on, it's nowhere near as bad as being listed on the Sex Offender Map.
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