Police Crack Down On Instagram Crime Account - KMSP-TV

Police Crack Down On Instagram Crime Account

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Philadelphia Police are cracking down on a new social media craze that tries to "out" crime witnesses.

Stop snitching. We've seen it on tee shirts, hats, even street signs and now online, available right there in the palm of your hand on your smart phone. But the latest high tech way to out witnesses could be putting lives on the line.

Beatrice Randolph was shocked to hear about the account when her daughter called, telling her to check out the Instagram account. The site, designed to ‘out' suspected cooperating witnesses in Philadelphia criminal cases, showed her son, who is not a cooperating witness.

She now worries that because of this, her son's life could be in danger.

"The only way these young men will be able to be saved is if they are moved." said Randolph.

Randolph became even more frightened when she saw her son's photo, the statements to police on a murder case he was charged in, as well as other documents that were all posted on @rats215 for followers to see. Her son has been charged incompetent to stand trial, but he has been the main target of repeated beatings in prison.

"He said he had to fight for his life. So he would call me and I would have to put him in protective custody."

said Randolph.

Philadelphia Police are currently investigating the site where information has been shown, that reached as high as 30 criminal witnesses. This raises questions about witness intimidation and the disclosure of secret Grand Jury testimony.

Often times the individuals have nothing to do with the case; it is just a recording of their name.

Some are troubled to see information on innocent witnesses with no criminal cases being included in the released information.

The Police Department has opened a criminal investigation trying to find out who started the account and where this information came from. Statements and documents between defense attorneys and clients is not something out of the ordinary, but the information being passed around to the wrong hands could cause some serious issues.

These aren't just local cases either. They include federal and state cases as well.

The page has since been taken down and the Police and DA's office began investigating. Police have identified a suspect for leaking the information and trying to intimidate a witness. So far, no one has been charged with starting the site, but Beatrice is hopeful this will change soon.

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