Police use Facebook, videos to link teens to crime

If a Minneapolis resident heard that police had used videos to link a teenager to a crime, he or she would likely think that there was some kind of surveillance video that clearly depicted a child committing a crime. What is far more tenuous to accept, however, is that police would use video shot by suspects as evidence that they were involved in a crime. Since when did it become a crime to tape something going on?

After someone saw a video that had been posted on Facebook of a 16-year-old punching a man in the face, police started to look for who recorded the cellphone video. They eventually came across a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old. Instead of questioning them about the incident, how they came across it and if they knew any of the individuals they had recorded, the police arrested them and prosecutors subsequently charged them with first-degree murder.

Though reports do not indicate that the men were actually involved in the assault or that they even came into contact with the man, they have been charged in his death. In order to file such serious charges, prosecutors must have some kind of concrete evidence that links these teens to the crime, but it is unknown if they currently have any such evidence. Without it, it is possible that the charges will have to be dropped or that they will be acquitted.

It can be extremely reckless for police and prosecutors to level such harsh charges against teenagers that, from all appearances, were just taping an assault. These kinds of charges can have extremely serious consequences and it is important that only those who have actually been breaking the law be charged.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Cops: 2 more charged in deadly attack posted on Facebook,” Jim Jaworski and Bridget Doyle, July 16, 2012

To learn more about how to defend a murder charge in Minnesota, visit our violent felony defense page.

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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