There are now 640 UK Cops who Tweet in their official capacity – 80 more than when I wrote this post a couple of months ago. Tweeting is great for community engagement and intelligence gathering but this week’s Finally Friday looks at some bizarre incidents when Twitter was actually used to effect an arrest.
First, have you ever seen something bad happening on a tube train but felt too intimidated to get involved?
Down the tubes
This August, a man was travelling on the Boston Tube (or, to give its full name, the Metropolitan Boston Transit Authority, known as the T) when he saw a fellow passenger indecently exposing himself. He didn’t know what to do. He was too embarrassed and apprehensive to call 911 and was scared to confront the perpetrator directly. So, instead he took out his smartphone and tweeted:
“#mbta pervert on 2nd car of red line going to Braintree just passed Charles help me report him in hat.”
He also took a picture of the man, and added it to the tweet. He crossed his fingers and hoped someone would pick up on his message. Although, the man wasn’t arrested immediately, the police interviewed the tweeter and created a wanted poster from his #Twitpic which was circulated around the T network. The following week the perpetrator was arrested and charged. Full details here.
This started me off me thinking of other famous #Twitpic stories where the tweeting photographers got themselves into trouble.
How about this scenario from a Los Angeles Homicide Detective:
The officer in question is an avid Tweeter with 4,000 followers. This October, he tweeted from a crime scene, attaching a photo of a murder victim’s covered body. While a lot of commentators thought that he had ‘crossed the line’, @LAMurderCop was unrepentant, stating that his motivation was to help stop the violence by showing its ugly reality. Read all about it here.
More humorously, some Tweeters have clearly taken to heart the ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ slogan.
Lights, Camera, Action
Noah Everett, the founder of @TwitPic, outdid himself in the cause of promoting his product when he tweeted that he was in the process of being arrested and was in the back of a police car. Needless to say, he attached a photo of himself in situ, reproduced below. The details of the arrest are splendidly bizarre and apparently arise out of a situation when he was naked in public. I will leave you to Google the details but you can get started here.
And finally: did you hear the one about the stressed out husband and father who used Twitter to try to get himself arrested?
Operating under the influence of Twitter
The man in question had spent a day this September driving his family all over Rhode Island, getting increasingly annoyed and frustrated at a combination of bad traffic and family arguments. Finally, he tweeted that he was going to start drinking while he was driving. So irate was he, that he posted his number plate and challenged the police to come and arrest him. Seven minutes later, they duly did.
Enjoy your weekend.