As law enforcement agencies utilize social media to gather evidence and search for suspects, they should remember that their actions can have a serious effect on the public. This is true even if officers think they are making a joke. Supposedly humorous remarks made on Facebook by a sheriff's department may have led to a teenager's recent suicide.
A former star wide receiver for the University of Michigan football team was arrested on Aug. 16 after, police claim, he was discovered in a room with marijuana inside. David Terrell is also accused of hitting two officers in the hand, adding charges of misdemeanor battery to the arrest.
A controversial stop-and-frisk policy has been called unconstitutional in federal court, perhaps answering the question of whether claims of reduced crime justify ignoring the public's right against unreasonable search and seizure by police. Though this ruling applies to New York City's police policies, it could have a nationwide impact as local governments seek to balance public safety with criminal defense legal protections.
People who are arrested on suspicion of a crime should be aware that the arrest could have long-term implications in their lives, whether they are ever convicted or not. An arrest or conviction can stay on your record for years, potentially affecting your ability to get a job or obtain a loan.