Colleton County Sheriff’s Social Media ‘Valentines’ Raise Eyebrows

Social media shaming … with hearts!

The Colleton county, South Carolina sheriff’s office is getting into the Valentine’s Day spirit … although its creative shaming of individuals sought in connection with outstanding warrants or late child support payments is drawing criticism.

It is also another example of how ordinary South Carolinians are treated by their state’s criminal justice system when compared to, um … “extraordinary” citizens.

Which of course is a flagrant violation of equal protection …

Anyway, here is a look at the “offer” Colleton county deputies made to their citizens on Friday, February 14, 2020 …

VALENTINE’S DAY SPECIAL – Do you, or someone you know have a warrant? If so, give us a call at 843.549.2211. We provide free transportation, overnight accommodations, and a bracelet set. Chef’s special Valentine’s meal included.

The offer was accompanied by a picture of heart-shaped handcuffs – along with witty social media hashtags including one that read “#CapturingHearts.”

Take a look …

(Click to view)

(Via: Facebook/ Colleton County Sheriff’s Office)

Funny? Sure …

Of course, the personal “valentines” issued by the office in connection with this “special” were a bit over-the-top. Especially considering the drama surrounding the agency’s own suspended leader.

“Candy is sweet. Flowers are fine. Your child support is behind,” the agency wrote in a message to 39-year-old Belinda Pye of Cottageville, S.C.

The same message was sent to 35-year-old Casey Strickland of Walterboro, S.C.

“Ain’t no mountain high enough to keep us from getting to you!” the message to Strickland added.

Meanwhile, 44-year-old Ronnie Simmons of Smoaks, S.C. got his own special note.

“Hey Ronnie, will you police be our valentine?” it asked.

Get it?

Take a look …

(Click to view)

(Via: Facebook/ Colleton County Sheriff’s Office)

Shortly after we posted our story on these messages, the Colleton county sheriff’s office removed the original images (and captions) and posted updated “valentines” (without the messages) to its Facebook page.

They left the hearts, though …

Our view on all of this?

Certainly we believe law enforcement agencies should leverage the power and reach of social media to assist them in bringing fugitives to justice. And in many cases, there is a clear public safety function served by such notifications.

But posts like this? They strike us as childish. Unnecessary. And as previously noted, unfair … especially in light of the preferential treatment routinely doled out to wealthy, well-connected suspects.

In order to be truly “just,” our criminal justice system must have uniform standards in place to deal with charges filed against its citizens. And those standards must be followed … wait for it … uniformly.

Otherwise the system is, by definition, unjust …




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