Mike Flacy of Yahoo's Digital Trends is reporting that a controversy is brewing over a LAPD police officer who tweeted a photo of a murder victim. On Tuesday, Oct. 11, LAPD veteran police officer Sal LaBarbera was standing on Wilmington Avenue in Los Angeles after responding to a call regarding a gang-related shooting. LaBarbera took a photo of the victim, 32-year-old Oscar Arevelo, and then posted the photo to his @Lamurdercop Twitter account with the caption "Guess where I'm at??? It never ends."
L.A. Weekly responded to the public post, questioning LaBarbera's judgment and whether tweeting photos of murder victims is appropriate. LaBarbera, who is a supervisor for the Criminal Gang/Homicide Division and leads the FBI/LAPD SOS Homicide Task Force, responded by saying that he doesn't see anything wrong with using Twitter to post the photo, citing other police officers who do the same on television shows like The First 48 Hours.
Although the LAPD has used social media to identify potential flash mobs and rioters after the L.A. Lakers championship last year, they have yet to divulge their policy on officers tweeting photos of murder victims. LaBarbera has subsequently deleted the tweet from his Twitter account.
This incident raises good questions about social media and the workplace. Should police officers be allowed to post content from work, like the photo of a murder victim, on their personal Twitter account? Where is the line between the public's right to know and the privacy of murder victims and their families? If indeed it is legal for LaBarbera to post the photos, is it ethical or moral?
We think that LaBarbera demonstrated a profound lack of judgment. Posting photos of murder victims on Twitter is in poor taste, in addition to being insensitive to the family of the victim. If the officer wishes to post the photo, then he should at least have the decency to ask the family of the victim for permission, as is the case with reality cop shows. It is clear that decency, ethics and morality are in short supply these days, even from someone who should know better, like a veteran police officer.
Read more at Yahoo News.
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