Social media websites such as Facebook are serious business. That is especially true when law enforcement gets involved for one reason or another. Far too many people who believe they are protected by a “freedom of speech” too often forget that type of protection comes with certain stipulations. Just as you cannot yell out “fire” inside of a crowded theater that is perfectly safe without being punished for that action, you cannot break other crimes via Facebook without the police finding you and coming to your door. It is always wise to remember that you don’t want to be the next person to make national headlines all because of one regrettable Facebook post.
Still not sure about the type of Facebook post that may or may not get you arrested? Here is the one question you can ask yourself whenever you have a doubt: Would you show the Facebook post in question to a police officer without having any fear that you would be arrested and then face charges? If the answer is not “yes” beyond a shadow of a doubt, then you may want to reconsider pressing the “Post” button. Do not think that being able to edit or delete a Facebook post is a fail-safe if you later regret a post. That sentence or comment may live on forever if somebody grabs a screenshot of it.
10. Threat on Police
Yasin Shearin was a teenager living in Staten Island in December 2014 when he logged onto Facebook. According to a SILive.com story, Shearin made a threat that he was going to kill a police officer. That threat, per the story, included “a cartoon image of a man holding a gun pointed at a police officer.” That Facebook post predictably got the teenager arrested. The teen would, as things would turn out, not be indicted, and the case would be dismissed. Shearin’s mother chose in August of 2015 to take the matter to court, claiming, among other things, that her child’s constitutional rights had been violated.
9. The Corpse
When you are an emergency medical technician working anywhere, let alone in New York City, you should probably not pull your phone out to take a photograph of a corpse. If you choose to ignore that wisdom for whatever reasons, you will at least want to make sure that you do not share that picture with Facebook friends and followers. Mark Musarella decided to test fate, allegedly sharing a photo of a corpse back in 2010. Along with being fired by the hospital that had employed him, Huffington Post reported that Musarella pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. His sentence included community service, and he was banned from ever again working as an EMT.
8. Ex-Con Doesn’t Learn
Some people never learn, and some people really never learn. 20-year-old Denzel Biggs was released from jail early in September 2015, and one of the first things that he chose to do with his new freedom was to share some pictures via Facebook. Those pictures, per Simon Shaykhet of WXYZ out of Detroit, showed Biggs seeming to be in possession of two different pistols. Since Biggs’ recent incarceration was the result of a different gun charge, the FBI was neither happy nor impressed. Biggs was picked up by the authorities, and he could be in for a rough end to 2015.
7. “Attack a Teacher Day”
There is nothing humorous or remotely funny about even the thought of violent acts occurring inside of a school. Six girls in Nevada received a harsh reminder of this in January of 2011. Those girls used Facebook to invite roughly 100 students to take part in an event named “Attack a Teacher Day.” The Nevada Appeal (h/t Huffington Post) reported that the girls were booked days before the alleged attack was set to take place. Whether or not such threats are real, law enforcement officials will take them seriously from now on. It is a safe bet that these types of stories won’t be going away.
6. Facebook Murder Plot
London Eley was upset with her ex-boyfriend in June 2011. She was, in fact, so upset that she decided to use Facebook to see if anybody wanted to eliminate her former lover. Eley, according to Chad Pradelli of WPVI-TV out of Philadelphia, found a taker in Timothy Bynum. Bynum, per the Facebook posts between he and Eley, agreed to get the job done. Detectives thankfully swooped in to save the day before any damage was done, but the story nevertheless had a sad ending. Corey White, later learned to be the man on the other end of the would-be hit, was shot and killed in August of 2011 while Eley and Bynum were both behind bars.
5. An Unintentional Threat
Kristin Holmes was in the middle of an online dispute when she used Facebook to upload a picture of herself pointing a pistol. The picture had the following caption: “So you know the difference when u (sic) come find me.” Somebody ultimately did “come find” her. It was the police. Holmes, according to the New York Daily News, did not mean the post as a threat against anybody. “It wasn’t a threat,” Holmes explained to the NYDN. “I thought it was a funny picture, and then I realized later it was a little bit intimidating. So I took it down.” Taking the picture down was not the same as never posting it.
4. DUI LOL
You know the acronym. You have probably used it in text messages and on social media websites such as Facebook. “LOL” was no laughing matter for a woman in 2012. Paula Asher, 18-years-old at the time, posted the following on Facebook after she allegedly drove drunk and hit another vehicle: “My dumb a– got a DUI and hit a car LOL.” A judge, as explained by Wave News, did not laugh one bit about the post, and Asher was ordered to take her Facebook page down. She refused to do so, and that bit of defiance landed her in jail for two days. LOL.
3. The Gang Bust
It is an incredible story, one that needs to be read so that it can be fully appreciated. As reported by Alice Speri of Vice News in June 2014, the largest gang bust in the history of New York City occurred largely because of Facebook posts and messages that were left by the suspects. 103 individuals alleged to be gang members were indicted as a result of the investigation. One of the posts mentioned in the indictment, per the Vice News report, said the following: “Once we take down one from your block, we’ll be good.” Facebook was a blessing for law enforcement in this case.
2. Liking a Mug Shot
When you find that you are listed on a Crimestoppers Facebook page, there are several steps you can take. Levi Charles Reardon made an interesting decision during the spring of 2015. He chose to “Like” the post while he was logged into his personal Facebook account, an account that had his full name attached to it. That did not end well for him. Reardon was arrested on multiple warrants in April. Afterward, he told the Great Falls Tribune that “surprised” that his social media blunder managed to go viral and land him in headlines. That explanation, come to think of it, may explain a lot.
1. The Rap Lyrics
Cameron D’Ambrosio of Massachusetts was an aspiring rapper in May of 2013 when he used Facebook to post some of his lyrics. Those lyrics, according to Rolling Stone, were the following: “F— a Boston bombinb [sic] wait til u [sic] see the s— I do, I’ma [sic] be famous for rapping, and beat every murder charge that comes across me.” D’Ambrosio was not seen as an innocent rapper trying to be clever, and he was charged with making terroristic threats. A grand jury decided in June of 2013 that D’Ambrosio was not a serious threat, and the young man was not indicted.