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Facebook Campaign to Find Alleged Abuser of 4 Year Old Girl

Outline
Posts circulating on Facebook that feature a photograph of a four year old child with a badly bruised face, claim the injuries were caused by the ex-boyfriend of the child's mother. The message includes the name and description of the alleged attacker and urge people to help locate and identify the man so that he can be apprehended by police.

Analysis
The exact circumstances of the case described are currently unclear. At this point the allegations made in the messages have NOT been confirmed by police. What is clear is that this sort of Facebook-driven vigilantism is unlikely to help either the child and her family or any investigations the police may be pursuing. Trial by Facebook is inappropriate, unethical and unhelpful. Before sending on one of these messages, please consider the following points and review the below statement from the Walker Police Department.

  1. If the claims are true, the circulating posts do nothing to help the police in their investigation and, in fact, could actually compromise any such investigation. The successful prosecution of an alleged suspect could be rendered difficult or impossible.
  2. True or not, the posts do little but encourage possible vigilantism - again which could have the effect of compromising any investigation, and compromising the successful prosecution of an alleged suspect.
  3. If false, the allegations made could be prosecutable offenses.

In response to this rapidly widening Facebook campaign, the Walker Police Department have issued the following statement on the matter:

Many people have inquired about the content of a Facebook page created ove Hoax-Slayer - New Articles 3

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