Facebook Live is a digital platform that allows people to broadcast live video to their followers and to the public. The social media platform is supposed to be used for personal and professional communication. Unfortunately, in recent months, it has also been used multiple times to show serious crimes being committed.
Filming criminal activity is never a good idea under any circumstances. Broadcasting criminal activity live over the Internet is an even worse idea. Even if you think you are sharing the video only with your followers, you are still making evidence of a crime public.
Law enforcement officers can obtain the broadcast and the evidence that is found on the video can typically be used against you in court. A New York federal criminal defense attorney can help you to respond in the most strategic way possible to charges based on a video of a crime being committed, but avoiding a conviction can be difficult when a prosecutor can show the jury video footage of you committing a criminal act.
The Phenomenon of Broadcasting Crimes on Facebook Live
One recent case in which an alleged crime was recorded on Facebook involved the kidnapping and torture of a special needs man. Four young people have been accused of kidnapping the man with special needs, and of broadcasting the torture they put him through, including making him drink toilet water and cutting his scalp. The four young people, on the basis of the video and other evidence, have been charged with numerous offenses, including hate crimes charges.
In other recent instances, an ISIL sympathizer who had killed a police officer and his partner recorded himself on Facebook Live debating what should be done with their three-year-old child.
It is not always the perpetrator who records a crime on Facebook Live either. Quartz Media reportedly recently on a crime that was broadcast by a victim who happened to be using Facebook Live at the time he was killed. In that particular case, a man appears to have been shot while he was broadcasting a live video feed, which means he effectively filmed and shared his own murder. The video shows shots being fired and the 28-year-old filmmaker collapsing. While the screen then goes dark, cries of pain can be heard in the rest of the video until first responders arrive.
Whether it is perpetrators or victims who record a crime taking place, the video footage can typically be used to demonstrate the unlawful acts. If a crime is caught on tape, you should talk with a skilled criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC about whether there are options like pre-trial diversion or plea negotiation which could help you to get a reduced sentence.
Your attorney can also discuss with you the possibility of trying to keep the tape from being presented or trying to find ways to cast reasonable doubt on the criminal accusations, even with the existence of the tape. In these difficult situations, it is imperative you have an experienced attorney who can try to help you get the best outcome possible under the circumstances.