Instagram influencer Eva Lopez is familiar with having a public presence on the internet. But what she wasn’t familiar with? Having her picture plastered on a wanted poster without her consent – for something she didn’t do!
New York police were searching for an escort who had stolen a watch and a credit card. She didn’t even match Lopez’s description, but that didn’t stop them from claiming Lopez was wanted for grand larceny on social media!
By the time she got them to take the original posts down, potentially MILLIONS had already seen and shared it. This isn’t even the first time police have done this.
From “Felony Fridays” to “Wanted Wednesdays,” departments circulate wanted posters on social media, which linger online long after mistakes are cleared up or time is served. They often make these posts over small infractions, like violating parole. And they’ve mixed people up before!
But there are huge consequences.
Their digital public shaming also translates to difficulties securing employment and housing. Not to mention exposure to internet vigilantes, who may see a poster and hunt that person down. And like Lopez, that could be ANY of us!
Police use wanted posters to shame and punish people before they even get a trial, even when they have the WRONG person. Clearly, they’re more focused on criminalizing Black people than actually keeping us safe!