After labeling an alleged thieves “stupid” in a Facebook post, police officers in Warwick, R.I. have backtracked and edited their post.
On Sunday, officers caught a pair of teenagers tampering with a police cruiser and attempting to steal the car’s hubcaps and siren — while it was parked at police headquarters.
Eighteen-year-old Shawn Bartis and a 17-year-old accomplice were charged with larceny and tampering with an automobile. Later the Warwick Police Department shared the news on Facebook, which included Bartis’ mug shot and a quote from Forrest Gump: “Stupid is as stupid does.”
Bartis’ family was not happy with the Department’s choice of words.
"Saying he's stupid — you don't do things like that. You don't say things like that. It's totally wrong what they did," Bartis’ brother Joe told NBC 10 in Providence. "Obviously, he was doing the wrong thing. But for the police to put him on the spot like that and throw his face out on Facebook is totally wrong. It's totally wrong. What's that going to do for his future?"
The department also received backlash on social media for their post. They’ve since removed Bartis’ mug shot and the Forrest Gump quote from the post post, “In the interest of not besmirching a young man for his mistake.”
Did police do the right thing in editing their post?
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.