As we mentioned in our blog last week, the Riverside Police Department announced that beginning this week, they would tweet out the names, ages, and towns of residence for anyone arrested for driving under the influence, but it appears they have backed off their controversial stance.
It’s uncertain why the police department has put a hold on tweeting out the incriminating information, but it’s certainly plausible that they felt pressure from both advocacy groups and individuals.
Attorney Sean Sullivan said individuals may not like that the Riverside Police Department will share the information on social media, but the arrest data is public knowledge.
“As I have discussed in prior stories, there is a continuing impact of new technology affecting the law and the legal system,” said Sullivan. “Here we see another example of this with the police department tweeting out names of DUI offenders. I am sure most people want to know how can the police do this. The answer is simple. They are just sharing public information. This is no different than police departments publishing the names of people in a police blotter in the local paper or utilizing a ‘Mug Shot Monday’ and releasing people’s mug shots. The police departments have the right to do this. Social media is really just another public forum where Court information can be shared with the general public.”
We’ll continue to follow this story to see if the Riverside PD decides to go forward with their plan, or if they shift gears.
Related source: Chicago Tribune