Why is Portland Police Dept. posting mugshots of Occupy Portland arrestees to Facebook?

UPDATE: I spoke with a sergeant from the Portland Police department today. I will post a longer update on the story soon, with notes from our conversation. The short version: yes, they do have a long history of posting mugshots in cases of high public and media interest, online. They're not only doing this with Occupy arrests. And Occupy arrests are of high media and public interest. The PD's news releases (some of which are lists of arrests, with photos) are all auto-posted to Twitter and Facebook now and not just to the PD's website. Apart from that, I do think it's fair to say that the prevailing character of their response to the local Occupy has been respectful and mellow compared to other cities (Oakland, yes, I'm looking at you). I told the sergeant that some BB readers had written in from Portland to say they are proud of the lack of tear gas or rubber bullets. "So are we," he replied.

As inadvisable police tactics around Occupy Wall Street go, this feels like it's right up there with tear gassing people in wheelchairs: The Portland, Oregon police department is posting mugshots to Facebook of people arrested at Occupy Portland.

@newyorkist has been dogging them about it on Twitter, and the Portland Police replied publicly via Twitter and Facebook that they do this with any "arrests in cases of a significant public or media interest," as part of the department's "efforts to be continually transparent."

Is that a violation of the arrestees' civil rights? Some of the demonstrators arrested were minors (and I am not sure if their photos were among the ones published). How does the fact that they are not adults change this story? Remember, these people aren't convicted pedophiles, they're just participants in a peaceful protest who were arrested, and haven't yet seen their day in court.

There is some precedent to police departments posting mugshots on a police department website, but the fact that it's Facebook just feels weird. As BB reader Bryan Coffelt tweeted, "I feel like the next step would be for the PDX PD to start 'poking' the arrestees or inviting them to play FarmVille."

Below, a response to the practice by Joey B'Shalom of Portland, identified as a US Air Force veteran "Airman of the Year" whose son Benji and daughter Hannah were arrested there.

(via Young Manhattanite)


  1. Why *wouldn’t* it be legal to post mugshots for arrestees? That information is a matter of public record, and if their policy really and truly is to post all mugshots online, then I don’t see the problem.

    My local PD posts the pictures of every person they’ve issued an outstanding arrest warrant for on Facebook as well. Don’t really see anything wrong with that.

    If you don’t want people to know you’ve been arrested, don’t get arrested.

    1. I would be behind what you’re saying if it wasn’t for the obvious fact that you don’t always have a choice about whether you’ll get arrested.  You might be all like, “Hey, I’m gonna exercise my 1st amendment rights!” or “I need to get to a store downtown where all of those protesters are this week.” and before you know it… BAM!  You’re arrested, even though you haven’t broken the law or anything.  So now people are all like “Damn, Bob’s a real troublemaker, I don’t think I could hire a guy like that” and you’re like “I wasn’t even breaking the law!”.  

      1. If you get arrested for doing something “perfectly legal” then wear that arrest as a badge of honor. And sue the bejeezus out of the police for false arrest.

        If you get arrested for doing something “not legal” then no harm done.

        But at the end of the day, an arrest record IS a public record (in most?many? areas), and there’s no legal reason why they can’t post them on Facebook just like they might on a police-station wall or something.

        1. there’s no legal reason why they can’t post them on Facebook just like they might on a police-station wall or something.

          Because, G-d knows, we are, most of us, inside police stations each and every day checking for updates on their wall. I like how there are invites to help out in something called “War on Drugs”. Must be a new Zynga game.

          Just because there is no legal reason not to does not mean that it should be done. There is no legal reason to buy a half-hour of prime-time TV and broadcast the photos, either. Nor display them on the half-time jumbo-tron. Or put them in a newsletter and send them throughout the country.

        2. How about I haven’t been convicted of a crime and haven’t authorized my image to be posted on a private website. Public record should be posted at most on a public police site post conviction. You do realize cops falsely arrest people under color of authority for exercising god given human rights don’t you?

          1. You don’t need to authorize anything. That image is public property, paid for by the taxpayers.

            “Public Record” can be posted anywhere. On Facebook, a police web site, a wall, or even in a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beward of the Leopard”. All of those are legitimate locations for public records. 

            Just like when we want places to mirror something that’s a public record before it gets sealed by the court, that knife cuts with both edges.  

          2. Our police force is public record.

            If I were to start posting pictures of the cops that are arresting peaceful protestors, I wonder how the police would react?And would you agree that I should be able to do do that, and it wouldn’t be considered harassing?  Since it’s public record, and all.

            Again, as has been mentioned, oh, a million times:  Just because something CAN be done, does not mean it SHOULD be done, nor does it mean it’s right.You have a hard time with that concept, don’t you?

          3. As I replied to someone else asking the same question: So long as the posting is “strictly the facts”, without editorializing, inciting to harass, etc., then absolutely that would be protected speech and I’d agree you should be able to do that.

            Something like, “The following police officers were on-duty at $LOCATION arresting OWS protestors:  John Doe [pic] [link], James Roe [pic] [link], etc., etc.”  would be perfectly fine.

            Something like “These douchebags were the ones doing this crap, man! Someone should find out where they live, knowhutImean? ….”  that crosses the line to inciting harassment, etc.

          4. And you think the police department would allow that?  HAHAHAHAHA.  Right.  They wouldn’t.  They’d claim that it could harm the officer’s personal and/or professional life, or put the officer in danger. 

      2. …So now people are all like “Damn, Bob’s a real troublemaker, I don’t think I could hire a guy like that” and you’re like “I wasn’t even breaking the law!”…

        Never fear.  There aren’t any damn jobs in Portland anyway.

        On a less facetious note: It’s nice that Ms. B’Shalom supports her kids.  But at the end of the day, it shouldn’t matter whether you’re the offspring of an Air Force Pilot, a nurse, an unemployed ditch-digger, or whatever.  You have the right to free speech and what you’re doing here is cause enough for me, at least, to be proud of you.

      1. The two underage ones whose identities WEREN’T released you mean? And if they protected their names, I’m reasonably confident they didn’t put their mugshots up either.

        1. Oh, you have a point. I was mistaken.

          Youa re ENTIRELY correct.

          They did not put up the mugshots of the minors they arrested for peaceably assembling.

          Nor the adults accused of white collar crimes, nor the officers accused of brutality, nor the parents who serve minors alcohol, jaywalk, or cheat on their taxes.

          Just the protestors. and only for being criminals. Hardened antisocial dangerous elements. You are correct. 100%.

    2. Local P.D.’s in my area publish mug shots, including on the Chicago Tribune web page. Of course, Facebook has many, many more hits than the Tribune at this point . . .

      In some places people would perceive public admission that a person had been arrested as a *good* thing. Oakland, for instance.

    3. “Don’t get arrested?” That’s got the be the worst excuse I’ve heard yet. Remember, there is a difference between an arrest and a conviction. 

    4. It’s punishing people via public humiliation without a conviction. These are not outstanding warrants where the cops need every lead they can get to capture fugitives. They already arrested these people. At this point, they are terrorizing these people by making them vulnerable to any nut on the Internet. It’s a passive aggressive form of excessive force. It’s bitchy at best.

        1. And they do this because? Just curious, is it like starting business where it actually has to be done? And why facebook?

          1. It’s called community outreach, in a way. Showing their taxpayers what they’re doing. And whichever side of the OWS argument you’re on, it should be considered a good thing in that respect.

            As to “why Facebook?” because it gives them the most convenient exposure to their citizenry of any platform available today. Why NOT Facebook is a more appropriate question.

          2. Why NOT Facebook is a more appropriate question.

            Because government reliance on closed for-profit third-party platforms is both unnecessary and leads to conflicts of interest. Next question.

          3. Inappropriate pre-conviction. Also the selective posting stinks to high heavens. Let’s start posting pictures of the arresting officers since they’re part of the arrest report, which is public record right?

        2. Although you’re likely correct that it’s all public record, it’s the selective posting that bugs me. If you want to inform the community that you’ve arrested someone for serious, life-threatening crimes, fine. But people who’ve been arrested for “protesting without a permit” (or whatever the excuse du jour happens to be)?

          So which is it? Did the Portland police really think these people are threats to life and liberty? Or is it just posturing, showing the 1%’ers that they’ve done good and deserve a cookie?

        3. So releasing the public record of the arresting officers, the address of their homes (public record if they have a mortgage), the roles of the schools to which their children go and the address of their mother (or at least women with the same last name as them) wouldn’t be punitive?

          No, that would be blatant harassment. As is this.

        4. But it is “punishing” people. If you’re arrested for no reason, and never even charged with a crime, but your mugshot is posted on FB, It can prevent people from getting jobs, loans, apartment, etc.

        5. Please stop and think of why they feel the need to publicly post these records.  Sure, you or I could access them regardless if they are posted, because they are a matter of public record, but what is the point to make them so easily available by splashing them on Facebook of all places?  The only reason is to shame those who were arrested.  That is the only reason.  It certainly is not because they want to keep people safe from the scary, scary peaceful protestors.  It is to shame.  To think otherwise is naive at best, and willfully ignorant at worst (I’m going with the latter).

        6. …right, but they don’t release ALL the mugshots, do they?  Don’t put them ALL on facebook?

          Why the selectivity?

          Because they’re punishing people.  Obviously.

        7. If it can affect your private life, livelihood, etc. it’s punishing. Inappropriate pre conviction. Taints possible jury pool as it implies guilt.

    5. You’re missing the point. First of all, there is a difference between something being in the public record, and something being plastered all over the Internet. There is no valid reason for the police to be doing that, and it feels like harassment. It’s not like the public is now safer, knowing the faces of peaceful protesters who have not even been tried.

      And secondly, Facebook is a private company with no official ties to the police. A public entity like a police force, funded with tax payers’ dollars, should not be favouring private corporations with their custom. It’s inappropriate for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is that it sets up a conflict of interest. If they want to post mugshots they should do so on their own website.

      The fact that your local PD is as misguided as the Portland one does not make it right.

      And lastly: “If you don’t want people to know you’ve been arrested, don’t get arrested” Wow, what an incredibly dumb thing to say. In other words, the police are perfect, and never ever arrest someone who didn’t actually do anything?

    6. Well think of it this way: an arrest is not a conviction. But having your mugshot posted up like that is stigmatizing, and as others have pointed out, could impact you socially in terms of employment etc. It could perhaps be considered as a punishment, and as a deterrent against ‘anti-social behaviour’. Since being arrested is not the same as being convicted (or even charged) the negative effects of this police activity are a form of extra-judicial punishment, since you experience the negative effects whether or not you are actually convicted of anything.

    7. Arrested != convicted.  Even COPS blurs out the faces of people who’ve been taped so as to avoid causing problems for people who are wrongfully accused.  This is public shaming pure and simple.  There’s nothing high-minded here to defend.  Nice try though.

      Especially love the “If you’re not doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about,” flourish.  Authoritarians are apparently too dumb to fake being anything but what they are.

        1. I find it hysterical that you consider me “authoritarian” when I’m basically an anarchist. :-)

          Maybe it’s time you re-evaluate your ideologies, then. An anarchist? Hahahaha. Sure.

          And answer me one question: Aside from the fact that these mug shots are public record, why would the police feel the need to post the protestors’ mug shots on Facebook, but no other arrests? Think about it. Actually think. For once.

          1. They still aren’t posting every single mugshot ever taken, are they?  They are selecting them with a purpose.  And why Facebook?  Because it’s the most visible place.

            Yes, it’s all public record, but, and you still haven’t answered this question:  Why would a police department feel the need to post mug shots, and only certain mugshots, on Facebook, for the entire world to see? Not even for felonies. For misdemeanor, no-violent crimes.  There is a reason, and it’s not to keep the public safe: It’s to shame and stigmatize.

            You are being willfully ignorant, which is, quite frankly, an evil, disgusting way to be.

          2. Or, alternatively, it could be to “show its citizenry what they’re up to”. Showing what they’re doing on “high profile cases” (and, let’s be fair, OWS arrests *are* high-profile, they’re in the international press) is a way for them to communicate with their citizens exactly what they’re doing – whether those citizens agree with it or not.

            Which is a Good Thing. For the folks on one side of the debate, they’ll be able to say to themselves, “Yeah, they’re cracking down on those commie hippie bastards!” and for the other side of the debate to be able to say “Hey, WTF?! Why are you arresting people for political speech?!!? First Amendment, hello!?!”.

          3. Really?  REALLY?  That’s your answer.  Oh, come on.  The entire world knows what’s going on.  There is no need to tell the world what is going on by plastering the mug shots of non-convicted on facebook.  THE ENTIRE WORLD ALREADY KNOWS.

            What a bullshit non-answer.

            You are still being willfully ignorant.  And a bit of a coward. Why not just admit that you agree with the police shaming and stigmatizing those who are arrested but not yet convicted, instead of hiding behind some bullshit non-answer?


    8. @Derek Balling in the case of the 16 year old, if he was one of the mug shots posted. He is a minor and there fore considered a “youthful offender” . The police in that case would be breaking the law by making his arrest public.  They would also be liable to a law suit.

    9. It’s inappropriate. Being arrested does not automatically imply criminality on the part of the arrested. Only a jury of peers can determine that. It’s simply a way for the police to have the public assume the guilt of the arrested parties and I believe it taints the jury pool. I think the protestors should start posting pictures of the arresting officers in each of these cases.

    10. It’s not a question of posting the pics, it’s a question of some are posted, but not all.  It’s biased, they are posting some photos of people arrested but not everyone arrested.  So who decides what pics are online? and what motivations do they have?

    11. Nothing wrong with that, eh? How about the fact that it is manipulating viewers of these mugshots? I try not to think this way but every time I see someone’s mugshot, the first thing that pops up in my mind is that the person arrested is probably a terrible criminal. The criminal (in)justice system has programmed us to respond to these images of people being arrested in exactly that way: assume guilt without any consideration of the surrounding circumstances. It’s public defamation, plain and simple and it’s unjust and immoral in my opinion.

      As to your “If you don’t want people to know you’ve been arrested, don’t get arrested.” response:
      That’s exactly what the PD is trying to instill in everyone. Don’t want to get arrested? Don’t do anything we don’t want you to do, little puppets.

    12. This practice should probably stop everywhere, with everyone. As Xeni noted, these people have only been arrested and have yet to have been proven guilty of anything. People who have not yet had their day in court. Respectfully, I think this is an inappropriate tactic. What’s more, Facebook is a private company. Why are municipal police departments uploading this information to their servers? That’s wildly inappropriate, in my opinion. Maybe even illegal and a violation of people’s rights.

  2. They should change boingboing.net to occupywallstreet.com, seeing as BB is shoving OWS down our throats.

      1. Bummer.  I was really hoping for more in-depth articles about how the rich and famous wile away their hours.  It’s so hard to find that stuff in quantity on most so-called “news” sites.

    1. No other site seems to cover OWS in such a breadth and depth as boingboing. Boingboing presents OWS as a story arc, or a saga, rather than a bunch of disconnected data points. I say, well done.

    2. I’m glad they are. It’s one of the most interesting things going on right now, and there’s not a huge amount of discussion of it on my usual news sites.

    3. Yeah, how dare they try to inform us about important issues affecting all of our lives? Don’t they realize that what really matters is bacon and/or donuts?

      Thank you for standing up for the right of all of us to remain blanketed in a fog of ignorance.

    4. The only thing that would be worse at this point would be if there was something about a 3D-printed OWS sign

    5. Funny choice of metaphor. I think they’re holding OWS in their supple hands myself.

      Also, too, your space bar, with which you can scroll past the free ice cream which you find distateful.

      Nobody is shoving anything down your throat, except you.

    6. Maybe boingboing does it out of patriotic duty?  You wouldn’t understand.
      Please remove your throat. 

      I love Joey B’Shalom , her kids and anyone protecting anyones freedom. 
      And I don’t mean FREEDOM™

    7. There are 39 posts on the first page of BoingBoing right now, of those 39, there are 9 related to the occupy protests.

    8. Sorry, but just because you prefer to be a good little stooge for your corporate masters does not mean the rest of us do.  You may be happy being a slave in all but name, while drowning yourself in distractions to hide from the misery around you, not all of us do.  You might even be one of those stupid ones who thinks their success is all because of hard work, and that people not doing so well probably deserve to suffer for their failings.  Some of us recognize that their only failing my have been to have a major illness without health insurance.

      OWS may finally be the movement that gets this country back to working for the working classes.  How technology is used by the movement, and against the movement is decidedly what belongs on BoingBoing.

    9. I’m pretty sure you’re allowed to visit or not visit whatever websites you like.  If you really dislike all the OWS coverage the really simple solution is to stop reading BoingBoing.

    10. They should change boingboing.net to occupywallstreet.com, seeing as BB is shoving OWS down our throats.

      If that would get you to leave forever and take your sad violin music with you, I’m all for it.

    11. I find it hard to believe that someone is forcing you to read boingboing. If you feel like you’re getting OWS shoved down your throat by reading boingboing, you might consider moving your throat. 

    12. @boingboing-988a417b643b6d4d22a9405ada512376:disqus — the awesome thing about the internet is that you can just stop pulling up this URL and get your news/gadget/tech/culture info somewhere else! right!? or you could continue your freelance job as a government troll and provocateur by making inane comments like this one.  
      I was pissed with BoingBoing for not covering OWS in the first few days, during the original MSM blackout–but they’ve redeemed themselves, so I continue to stop by and consume their posts.  If you’re unhappy with it, go somewhere else!

  3. I imagine the policy varies from state to state. Have you noticed those new mugshot-scrubbing companies have popped up mainly in Florida and Alabama, or whatever? You don’t see those ads in California.

  4. Sounds like a good way for any Stasi-leaning law enforcement agency to use face-recognition software and build a file of undesireables.
    Too bad none of these individuals has been convicted of anything yet.

  5. ” they do this with any “arrests in cases of a significant public or media interest,” as part of the department’s “efforts to be continually transparent.”

    Shouldn’t this be easily verifiable? What other sorts of crimes have they posted mug shots for on their Facebook account? 

  6. I was born, grew up, and mostly live in Oregon.  While I do think this is truly WTF-unnecessary, it is public record and (as far as I know) already available on the internet.  I do wonder about posting a mugshot of a 16 year old though–is that legal or ethical?

    The biggest problem I have with this basically comes down to the problem of, “interviewing for a job and HR does a quick google/FB check”.  Getting arrested =/= breaking the law, but it could give a hiring manager the wrong impression.  

    1. And since employers are already allowed to ask about your criminal history (and perform background checks, if they so choose), posting of mugshots is also essentially performing a free, undeserved service to potential employers.

      Of course, potential employers are also allowed to demand and receive any damn thing they want these days from the job supplicant/applicant, except possibly blood samples and dental records.  But I’m sure those will be part of the process, too… soon enough.

    2. Getting arrested =/= breaking the law, but it could give a hiring manager the wrong impression.

      Could? How about “will”?

      I’ve been involved in hiring people. If we’ve got two similarly-qualified applicants, but our recruiting snoops have found out one has been arrested (even if not convicted), I guarantee you the corporate hive mind will choose the other candidate.

      I’ve seen job applicants discriminated against for far less than that.

      I’ll go so far as to say the arrested person’s resume/CV won’t even make it to the manager who needed to fill a position. There probably won’t even be a discussion between the recruiter and the applicant. Just another one for the automatic “no” pile.

  7. A browse through the Portland Police Bureau website (not exhaustive, but not a skim, either) doesn’t turn up any regular postings of mugshots.

    They’ve got other mugshots on their Facebook page, but for legitimately serious crimes, like armed robbery and meth trafficking.

    Somehow, I doubt the Occupy protestors are the same league of criminal as meth cookers.

  8. What’s the purpose of posting mugshots? To shame people?  If so, I guess a facebook page of cops mugs is also warranted as they should be ashamed of some of the practices their employing against peaceful protestors.

    I was always told an arrest means shit until a conviction is made so why should someone have to endure this if they were arrested for say prostitution when in fact they might be innocent of the charge? I know, separate subject somewhat but still…

    1. Exactly, innocent until proven guilty and convicted by a jury of your peers. The information that someone has been arrested may be public record but to post someone’s image is highly irregular and inappropriate, particularly when teh actions of the police are questionable, e.g. arresting people for exercising basic god given rights.

  9. It would be funny if someone could confirm by IP address that ‘Derek Balling’ and ‘Joshua Bardwell’ are the same person.

      1. Nope, but you do need to cut people down for standing up for principles you disagree with. So…. Welcome!

  10. Has to be illegal….what about expunging records…Facebook will never delete anything…has to be violation of some right somewhere by not getting rid of those records when they have to be removed…or not

  11. There is a website in PDX that posts mugshots, and it will take them down for a fee; their unsavoriness referenced here:  http://bojack.org/2010/10/a_bad_turn.html

    I am guessing that this site is having a field day with the OWS arrests.  

  12. Easy fix, untag yourself from these photos, means they will not be searchable by your name, it is still low behavior but it is possible to disassociate your profile from these, at least for purposes of an employer based Facebook check. (other option of course is to have your profile visible only to your friends, random employers can’t just see all your info then.)

    1. Counter-proposal to tag removal. Add the #Occupy tag. These are arrests to be proud of. Flaunted even. 

      Yes yes that’s idealism speaking and realisticly what HR department will care why just that your face shows up on an arrest sheet. Still, let me indulge in the silly notion you might get hired BECAUSE you were part of the #Occupytogether movement.

  13. There are several cities that have webcams in their jail intake and here in Austin you can pick up a $1 weekly newspapers with mugshots and info on everyone arrest in the past week. 

    As others have said it is a matter of public record. But those public records laws usually are antiquated and relied on anonymity through obscurity. Before the internet you would have to go to city hall and make a formal request, etc. This sort of forced attention into citizens legal issues is troubling.

    1. ” This sort of forced attention into citizens legal issues is troubling.”

      We all address the problems we have encountered, so I get this line of reasoning. However, in places where being arrested means nobody ever sees you again, the protection of requiring arrests to be a public record is more clear. Personally, I would prefer that arrests be public record and I not be allowed to disappear. A good civics lesson can clear up the issue with the stigma of being arrested. There’s no solution for being disappeared.

      1. Unfortunately, this logic breaks down if you figure that the people willing to do what the cops have already done would also not hesitate to “disappear” protesters, if they only had half a chance to.

        It’s already obvious how many people in power would be very, very happy to make all this OWS unpleasantness vanish forever, if they could only figure out a cost-efficient way to do it. >:

    2. Hopefully as it effects more law abiding who are simply exercising god given rights enshrined in the Constitution we the people will make the necessary changes.

  14. Oh, so when the arresting officers portraits are put on Facebook, with links to their social networking profiles that will be okay?

    Oh, that will be harassing the police. 

    I’m sorry, but going to a private site and posting this feels like the police harassing the protesters. Hopefully a judge sees this as well.

    1. I think so long as you simply post *factual information* without using any rhetoric or inciting people to harass them or do anything like, it would be considered protected speech.

      The problem is that most of the places where this has been “tested” have been cases where it’s like “Here’s the info on that baby-killer doc! What do you think we should do with him!?!!” which isn’t the same thing. (That WOULD be inciting harassment, obviously).

      1. In most courts of law in this country, the prosecution wouldn’t be able to show these same mugshots to a jury. Why? Because, no-ducking-fuh, it’s prejudicial. Why are playing dumb like you don’t know that’s how the cops are thinking? Of course you do, I think you do. I’m giving you credit here, I think you’re wrong- not blindingly  stupid.

      2. Ironic that you cite a first amendment defense for the mugshot-posters in response to people arrested while exercising their first amendment rights…

        1. If the local “public assembly” law has been written in such a way that it infringes on their (OWS’) first amendment right to assemble and petition for grievances, then by all means, sue the city to the bone and make them pay dearly for the mistake of said infringement.

          That would be part of how the current system of jurisprudence works. They get arrested, they get charged, they go to court, they show that it was actually perfectly legal under the First Amendment, losing side appeals, repeat that appeals step until one side either gives up or it reaches SCOTUS for an ultimate decision.

          Case law is largely on the side of OWS folks, assuming no other mitigating factors (violence, etc.), so that should be a fun ride to watch.

          But the two “Exercises” (the protest and the publishing of the mugshots) are only tangentially related.

          1. …sue the city to the bone and make them pay dearly for the mistake of said infringement…

            The City of Portland has already gone through several important lawsuits brought by citizens against police who overstepped their authority in their dealings with private citizens.  In some cases, the private citizens actually won, though not overnight.

            Looking at these latest antics, it’s clear that the large sums of money paid out by the City of Portland to private citizens have not served to correct the Police Department’s behavior in any lasting way.  What they have done is helped bad cops and their apologists fob off the cost of their reprehensible behavior on the rest of us, since the money the City pays out to settle lawsuits is basically our money.

          2. Horrible system. Every law should be vetted for Constitutionality prior to being implemented. Would solve so many problems, but makes too much sense.

    2. They are public employees, don’t we have a right to know who they are. I mean the arresting officers are part of the process of arrest so shouldn’t their picture be posted as well?

  15. [The PPD has]  got other mugshots on their Facebook page, but for legitimately serious crimes, like armed robbery and meth trafficking….
    This is the real issue.  Portland police know that the OWS population is engaged, and concerned about their own futures as well as that of the nation. They’ve made an effort to display the images of OWS arrestees world-wide because of that, not due to standard practice within the department. The, “but arrests are public record!” rebuttal is a dodge.  If the mugshots were posted on a local PPD website as per standard practice for real criminals — that would have been a non-issue. However, that isn’t what was done.
    It looks like an intentional effort to dog the lives of these (mostly young) OWS participants going forward; to punish them without due process, by throwing their names and faces up on a site known to be used by hiring agencies and corporations when they research the backgrounds of potential employees.

    Intent matters under our laws. And cops know that better than almost everyone else.

  16. I don’t have the heart to actually click the link and give them traffic.  Is the facebook photo recognition algorithm automatically tagging them to their existing profiles?  ( That is one way in which this would be significantly different than the mugshot papers, etc.  )  
    Another aspect of this is unfortunate: they were arrested yes, but it has yet to be proven in a court that they were guilty of a crime.  Yes, they were breaking a posted curfew, but did that law trump their first  amendment rights?  It’s unclear, and unlikely.

    1. Actually it is pretty clear and is pretty likely. There are about 100 years worth of Supreme Court cases on it. They are even explained pretty well on Wikipedia.

  17. Its a bit weird that you dont have stronger privacy protection in the US. In Sweden you wont get your face out there for being arrested, maybe if you are convicted of a serious crime like robbery or aggravated assault it would get published in a paper. (Or of course if youre a “celebrity”. ) And hey, were an ebil socialist country.

  18. If they want to be transparent, why are they posting only the pics of those arrested in this incident… why not post every single arrest mugshot for any incident?

    And further transparency: how about posting pics of every member of the police force?

  19. Derek, don’t you think posting on FB is going WELL out of their way to release this information? What is wrong with the traditional venues?

  20. Why are mugshots allowed to be published if the person has not yet been convicted of a crime? I understand that it is public record, but this seems to me like the modern  equivalent of putting someone in the stocks in the town square, before they’ve even been convicted of anything.

    I understand that it is public record, but public records mean that people can access the information if they are looking for it. It doesn’t mean that it is screamed out the windows for everyone to see. It is a punishment which does not fit the crime, since it has not yet been decided in court if a crime has been committed. How about they take everyone who was arrested, and put them on a flatbed truck and drive them around town with a big sign that says “these people were arrested today!!!” or if the police put their mugshots on the lightposts outside of their homes? “It’s public record, it’s public record”. Would you be ok if they did that too? To me the “public record” argument holds no water.

  21. but it is “punishing” people. It can prevent people from getting jobs, loans, apartment, etc.
    And it’s not standard procedure. If they aren’t doing it with all arrest mugshots, and if they haven’t been doing it as a matter of practice since before the OWS protests, then the “but it’s public record!”  argument is bogus. There is a very great deal about you that is public record that I can’t  collate and use against you — without a legitimate charge of harassment. Same with the cops. Intent matters.

  22. You know, I support the Occupy movement to a large degree… 

    But c’mon, this seems pretty chicken to be posting people’s mugs on Facebook?? It’s like Big Brother gone social awry.

    What are they going to do next… if you don’t file your income taxes on time, are the police going to post those faces on FB as well? 

  23. If you’re referring to their arrests, yes, the police have wide latitude to detain people. If you are referring to the non-standard decision to post their mugshots on Facebook……. cite your cases. I suspect someone else can quickly cite  a few that don’t support intentional, unusual advertising of misdemeanor arrest mugshots by public employees.
    The Portland Police Department is not The Smoking Gun.

  24. I’d consider it a badge of honour if my photo were up there in this hall of fame. Any future employer who wouldn’t hire me because I was expressing my first amendment rights in peaceful assembly is an asshole that doesn’t deserve my skills anyway.

    1. I’d consider it a badge of honour if my photo were up there in this hall of fame. Any future employer who wouldn’t hire me because I was expressing my first amendment rights in peaceful assembly is an asshole that doesn’t deserve my skills anyway.

      There may come a day when making smoothies at the health food store isn’t fulfilling your career ambitions anymore.

      1. Alternately, there may come a day when Management of said store feels so hideously entitled/picky (thanks to some combination of double-digit unemployment and their own innate assholery) that they’ll think nothing of dumping their current crop of Happy Proles anyway.

  25. Mug shots of arrestees are public information but publishing some of them, selected because the police find them irritating, is out of line.  If they publish all misdemeanor mug shots then they’ve got a standard procedure.  By selecting some of them they are harassing.

    One consequence of the OWS arrests is that middle class people who previously had no contact with the criminal justice system are getting arrested and see how arrestees are treated.  This is going to make some of them a lot more interested in working for fair treatment for arrestees in general.

    1. Now, now, crummett.  This is just the sort of forward, dynamic, can-do thinking that made the Rose City great!

      See, it can’t all be pepper spray and beating the mentally ill and shooting unarmed people of color in the back, y’know!  Cops are only human, like the rest of us.  They crave variety!

  26. An arrest warrant is, austensibly, in an effort to find someone who has failed to show up in court, not to shame someone who has yet to be tried to see if they’ve broken any laws. The PPD has gone ahead and tried to convict these people in a very social manner (as many employers do screenings, which include Facebook screenings) pretrial and with not justifications (like the warrant matter). Plenty of people were arrested wrongly during the civil rights protests in the 60’s, Mr. Balling, and I’m sure many of them did not want to be arrested. They got their day in court to show that they had a legitimate reason to protest. This circumvents the right to trial, their right to free speech and their freedom of assembly, all of which they did in a far less raucus manner than our founding fathers, and for a more transparent funneling of money to specialised interests than a tax on tea.

  27. The most deplorable thing is that the Portland Police posted these protesters photos, names and ages while they do not do the same with anyone else they arrest. You know, people who are actually arrested for crimes — DUI, robbery, etc. — as opposed to peacefully exercising their Constitutional rights.

    Well, as someone new to Portland, I am personally proud of each and every one of them.

      1. To be honest, if it’s being done to other suspects, I’m not thrilled about that either.  It ends up equating, say, somebody suspected of stealing a loaf of bread from Mal-Wart with somebody suspected of murder.  And it implies that both acts merit the same level of punishment.

        That… is really not so good.

      2. But clearly not ALL arrestees – that’s my gripe.

        I won’t pretend to know what their motivations might be, but as I said earlier – the Occupy protestors aren’t dangerous criminals running amok in the City Of Roses.

  28. It needs to be repeated – These people were ARRESTED but not CONVICTED of anything. There is no presumption of guilt in arrests, just the reasonable suspicion thereof.  Police practices where they post mugshots of people who have not been convicted of a crime should be regarded as defamatory. If people are “innocent until PROVEN guilty” then this behavior is publicly shaming innocent people.

  29. Derek, I admire you for taking an unpopular position and sticking to your guns with it. However, it is NOT typical or professional practice to post mughsots on FB, saving looking for a fugitive and using every avenue possible. The fact that they are doing this as an extra (which they are) and only with OWS protestors is weird to me. If there has been some district policy change which requires ALL arrests be posted on FB, I’ll withdraw my contentions. And then I will promptly eat my hat.

  30. The question that comes to my mind is whether those arrested during OWS activities are being singled out or are they being treated like anyone else who is arrested but not convicted of a crime.
    If the police post pictures of everyone they arrest then we can safely ignore this story. If they are being singled out, then we have a problem. It would demonstrate an institutional bias that could be viewed as harassment and discrimination based on creed. 

  31. At times embracing the notion of “If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us” comes in handy.  So: where’s the Occupy movement’s FB wall showing those Officers who have been participating in these quite notably un-Constitutional crack-downs?  

    We do have a right to redress our grievances; it’s listed right after our Right to Peaceful Assembly in the Constitution.  As of yet, the Judicial system has been mostly complacent in questioning the idea of a curfew limiting Peaceful Assembly however.  Accordingly, my personal belief is that it is well within our rights to document openly who particular public officials are who have been negligent in their responsibility to adhere to the Rule of Law they are sworn to protect.  

  32. It turns out that there’s already a public site that posts all arrests / mugshots, http://www.mcso.us/paid/. So re-posting mug shots to Facebook or Twitter is being done for some other reason, not to “inform” or to use “social” media to “participate in the conversation” or “engage with the community.” We need to know what the agenda is behind this.

  33. It was a nice try to shame the protesters. Uh-oh, though:  it turns out that getting arrested  and photographed while peacefully demonstrating for this cause during this revolutionary moment  is a badge of honor for most of us.  

    1. The differences:

      1. The county site is taxpayer supported and on budget. Facebook is a private corporation with terms of service. Portland Police is expending additional resources to maintain a Facebook site. Taxpayers / citizens have little visibility into the reasons behind this Facebook page or how much it is costing to maintain.

      2. Portland Police are selecting which mugshots they post to Facebook and which ones they don’t. How they choose is not openly published.

      1. You left off one…
        3. This is a tactic designed to cause people arrested problems.  Being arrested is not a crime, but there are people who think if you were arrested you must be guilty.
        Does anyone want to consider the implications of Facebook adding this data to the massive file they keep about you?  Do you want these people to end up unemployable because they stood up for their rights?  If someone posts a picture of them drinking and doesn’t get the job that is one thing, but when a governmental agency posts you to Facebook this raises serious questions about their motivations.

        Facebook mugshots… the new town stocks?

        1. It is clearly a tactic, and in the absence of transparency into the motivations for it I can only suppose that the city’s legal team is in the loop, is aware of the potential consequences in the court system, and has given its blessing. We have a pretty active press in PDX and I’m confident that someone will get to the bottom of this. @MayorSamAdams is fairly well liked in PDX social media circles and I think when push comes to shove he can be convinced that this is a bad idea and will put a stop to it.

  34. There is some precedent to police departments posting mugshots on a police department website, but the fact that it’s Facebook just feels weird.

    I get what you mean, but it is an official Portland Police Bureau website. Officially sanctioned by the City of Portland ‘n’ everything. Otherwise it wouldn’t exist.

    So if you find this disturbing, probably your best option is to bitch to the guy who (allegedly) runs the Portland Police Bureau, and that would be Sam Adams.

    Seems like you have to be a bit of a sadist in order to be a cop. I’m sure there’s more than a few cops who thought of the impact on the future employment prospects of the people whose pictures they posted, and chuckled.

    (By the way, in case there’s any confusion, the jail in downtown Portland is run by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, aka the cops in the green uniforms, not the Portland Police, aka the cops in the blue uniforms. So when you search for the mug shots of people booked into jail in Portland, you’re not going to a web site run by Portland Police.)

    1. Thanks for the clarification. I’m not at all sure the Portland Sheriff’s office needs a Facebook page — but I do understand that the people of Portland may not see it that way. However, selective publication of mugshots without posted guidelines is a potential problem — whether the webpage is a standard outlet or not. The issue is still intent, and the non-standard nature of this action.

      1. Oh, I agree. I think putting those pictures of protesters up there alongside pictures of a deranged-looking guy arrested for wielding a hacksaw in the middle of the street and a stabbing suspect, among others, draws a false equivalency between them which is completely unfair to the protesters.

  35. I do stand corrected. Also, I had no idea people -should- be named and shamed for protesting.  For felonies, yeah sure. For “trespassing”, not so much. Not my city.

  36. I’m going to suggest taking a semi-permanent marker and writing something on your forehead that the police will not be willing to put on their Facebook site.  Perhaps the name of some particularly vile porn website.  Or the phone numbers of some local cops or politicians.

    1. Perfectly acceptable if you’re an unemployed street person. Perhaps not so much if you have a job.

      I think everyone at Occupywhatever should have their faces on Facebook.  That way if anything they do harms us in any way we can hunt them down and hold them accountable. 

      You do want accountability, right?

  37. Someone made a point above that’s a good one:  Before the internet, you had to make an effort to obtain these public records.  Now, all the police department has to do is slap them all over facebook, and bam! the entire world has access to them, without the need to physically go to the department that houses the records.

    This matter of public record was created before the internet.  Before it was ridiculously easy to obtain such public records.

    This is crossing a line.  Being public record shouldn’t mean that the police department should be able to post them everywhere and anywhere.  Shall we start posting these protesters’ faces on billboards now, as they do with those who have been arrested (but not convicted) for DUIs?

    This isn’t how I want a civil society to handle simple arrests of those who aren’t even convicted of a crime and who clearly do not pose a threat to society.

  38. Right. I’m not (at all, right now) getting into the validity, or lack thereof, of the arrests in question. And if you’re arrested for doing what you think is right, EVEN IF it’s technically illegal (especially if), you should be willing to wear that as a badge of honor.

    FFS, WHY?  Why should it be a badge of honor to be inaccurately accused of a crime?  It would be an inconvenience.  It would negatively impact my reputation.  It would make me less trusting and more critical of the police.  There’s nothing good that comes out of wrongful arrests.  Why the fuck do you think it would be a badge of honor?

  39. When your only other answer to the question, “Why do they feel the need to do this?” is “to show its citizenry what they’re up to” when the entire world is already aware of what’s going on in this movement … then, well, it’s clear to me that you’re just trying to be the devil’s advocate.  But, you don’t even have a decent counter-argument.  It’s hallow.  It’s bullshit.  It doesn’t mean anything.

  40. The proof is in the pudding, which is the fact that they’re doing it at all. The only good thing about it is the fact that it’s calling attention to an extremely inappropriate practice that many had no clue was even occurring.

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