Cops in trouble for xtranormal cartoon, police dept. claims their YouTube video amounts to "cyberstalking"

[Video Link for one of the nine videos in question; the Seattle Stranger has all nine here.]

Two Washington state policemen used xtranormal to create a series of videos mocking each other, and the correctional systems management company that oversees a local jail. Their supervisor saw the videos, and sued Google to obtain the creator and YouTube uploaders' real names. The lawsuit was blocked, but the name of one of the officers involved was leaked, and he has been demoted as punishment.

The eight-minute cartoon depicts an interaction between an officer and a SCORE employee dressed as a clown. SCORE stands for South Correctional Entity, which oversees the regional jail. The department report calls the video offensive, demeaning and hurtful to their relationship with the jail.

More at AP, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and Seattle Weekly.

The Seattle Times has a statement from the police department, explaining why the search warrant ordering Google to turn over the real name of the filmmaker ("Mrfuddlesticks") was dropped. The kicker: the police department argued the video amounted to "cyberstalking."

The warrant accused the mysterious filmmaker of cyberstalking by directing the videos at the city and its personnel. Renton police wrote in the warrant that the case was being pursued as cyberstalking because much of what was broadcast was intended to "display lewd content an/or lewd acts, indecent language that is meant to embarrass and emotionally torment the victim." The main character of the videos is a police officer who talks about Police Department issues in a robotic voice. Some current department members and city employees are referenced in the videos, according to the warrant.

Seattle-based attorney Harish Bharti (famous for winning a $12 million class action lawsuit against McDonald's on behalf of vegetarians and Hindus) argued that "the cartoonist and everybody else have a constitutionally protected right to be anonymous and exercise their free speech and expression," and that the Renton, Washington police department's "abuse of police power is beyond belief."

View all nine videos here.

(thanks, Byron).

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