Tennessee cops' arrest of man over disrespectful photoshop draws wide attention to it

A Tennessee man, presumably disenchanted with local law enforcement, posted the above image to social media. The image shows two people urinating on a headstone crudely edited to include a portrait of Sgt Daniel Baker, a Dickson County cop who was killed in the line of duty in 2018. The original photograph is the cover of a 2009 album released by a band called The Rites.

Dickson County police, however, believed it was a genuine photo of Baker's grave. With the assistance of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation—and a trip to the cemetery—they realized that it was merely a tasteless and disrespectful photoshop.

Even so, they tracked Joshua Andrew Garton down anyway and charged him with harassment over what the TBI described as "desicration" in a misspelled Twitter posting announcing his arrest. Garton is being held on a $76,000 bond at Dickson County Jail.

Garton's arrest may satisfy local outrage, but comes with its own costs. The heavy-handed response has already been widely condemned as an infringement of Garton's constitutional rights.

"@TBInvestigation and @dicksonpolice set out to arrest you for one thing, quickly realize they can't, and make up something else in frustration," wrote lawyer Daniel A. Horwitz on Twitter. "… I am riled up about the government imprisoning someone for disrespecting them."

It is also an example of the Streisand Effect, when an attempt at censorship results only in broad attention to the material in question. Thanks to the arrest, an image seen by only a few locals has now gone viral online.

The original record cover