Home California Bill Banning Police From Posting Mugshots on Social Media Now in Effect

Bill Banning Police From Posting Mugshots on Social Media Now in Effect

by ECT

Expect to see fewer mugshots posted to social media this year as AB 1475 is now in effect. The law was signed last July which bans police from sharing on social media the arrest photographs (mugshots) of individuals who are charged with non-violent offenses.

The bill was sponsored by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Sillocan Valley) who took to social media saying that “social media shouldn’t be used as a weapon against people who are innocent until proven guilty.”

Low accused police departments of using their social media accounts to “shame suspects” by posting their mug shots, names and alleged crimes.  These accounts include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Nextdoor.

The bill passed in a 74-0 vote in the State Assembly on July 12 and in the State Senate in a 39-0 vote on July 8.

According to Assemblyman Evan Low, he says the bill prohibits police and sheriff’s departments from publishing the booking photos of suspects arrested on suspicion of committing a nonviolent crime to their social media accounts. Exceptions can be made if a person is considered a public safety threat.

July 22 Press Release

Governor Newsom Signs Asm. Evan Low’s Bill AB 1475 to Ban Social Media Mugshot Shaming

SACRAMENTO, CA —On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assemblymember Evan Low’s bill AB 1475 to stop California law enforcement agencies from posting the mugshots of nonviolent suspects on social media.

The law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2022, and prevent police and sheriff’s departments from posting the booking photos of suspects accused of nonviolent crimes on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, NextDoor and others. Exemptions would be made for cases where a suspect is a fugitive, or a judge agrees that the publication of a photo would serve a legitimate public safety interest.

“Social media has revolutionized the manner and speed in which we relay information, but the sharing of mugshots by official agencies can have devastating consequences for people accused of nonviolent offenses,” said Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley). “Over the years we’ve seen mugshots weaponized as a way of public shaming, which can result in people wrongly accused of crimes becoming subjected to harassment campaigns. Studies have also found that these photos reinforce harmful racial stereotypes. I want to thank Governor Newsom for signing this important piece of legislation, which had unanimous support throughout the process.”

AB 1475 will provide relief for people who have been accused of a nonviolent crime and had their mugshot posted to social media. Californians who are cleared of charges will receive a clean slate and a fair chance at employment opportunities. Furthermore, the bill provides for the removal of mugshots for suspects accused of violent crimes if that person was ultimately found not guilty or not charged.

“Mugshot posting on social media demonizes and shames individuals who have yet to be found guilty of any crime and can harm their loved ones,” said Esteban Nuñez, Director of Advocacy and Community Organizing at the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC). “It does not reflect the professionalism, rehabilitation, and the presumption of innocence that our justice system strives to embody. We are grateful AB 1475 will become law and reduce the practice of mugshot posting while also allowing those who have had their records expunged the opportunity to remove the social media imprint of their mugshot.”

AB 1475 received bipartisan support as it moved through the California Legislature, and the Illinois state Legislature passed a similar law in 2018. Earlier this year, Utah’s Legislature passed a law banning the release of all mugshots until a person is convicted of a crime.

“AB 1475 will help free innocent individuals from fear that a simple website search will dredge up inaccurate past information that will destroy their employment opportunities,” said Margo George, Co-Chair of the California Public Defenders Association’s Legislative Committee.

Evan Low represents Silicon Valley in the California State Assembly. He was elected in 2014 after serving as a Councilmember and Mayor for the City of Campbell. Assemblymember Low now serves as the Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus and Chair of the state’s Business and Professions Committee. He also serves as co-Chair of the California Legislative Technology & Innovation Caucus and Vice Chair of the Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus.

AB 1475, Low. Law enforcement: social media.

Existing law requires law enforcement agencies, departments, or entities to consider specified best practices regarding the downloading and storage of body-worn camera data, including prohibiting agency personnel from uploading recorded data onto public and social media internet websites, when establishing policies and procedures for the implementation and operation of a body-worn camera system.

This bill would prohibit a police department or sheriff’s office from sharing, on social media, booking photos of an individual arrested on suspicion of committing a nonviolent crime, as defined, unless specified circumstances exist. The bill would require a police department or sheriff’s office that shares, on social media, a booking photo of an individual arrested for the suspected commission of a nonviolent crime to remove the information from its social media page, upon request, unless the same specified circumstances exist. The bill would require a police department or sheriff’s office to remove the booking photo of a person who has committed any other crime from social media if the individual’s record has been sealed, the individual’s conviction has been dismissed, expunged, pardoned, or eradicated pursuant to law, the individual has been issued a certificate of rehabilitation, the individual is found not guilty of committing the crime for which they were arrested, or the individual was ultimately not charged with the crime or the charges were dismissed.

For more on the Bill: Click here

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More Dem BS Jan 3, 2022 - 5:58 pm

More weak, cater to the criminals BS from the dumbocrats! The liberal bull shit just keeps flowing from the left!

Two Wheeler Jan 3, 2022 - 6:53 pm

Protects the scumbag thieves, burglars, and hoodlums. Great job, Evan. May your car be stolen, your house be burglarized, and your catalytic converter stolen.

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