Family Questions Police Department’s Use of Facebook Arrest Photos

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VACAVILLE-

Facebook is a place to share thoughts and photos with friends; but a public page is creating a lot of controversy with their images, shared publicly with their fans and anyone who sees their page.

Dozens of mugshots, snapped by a cellphone and put on public display on the Vacaville Police Department's Facebook page, while the suspects were still at the scene of the alleged crime.

Family members of people detained by police are calling into question what they call "public shaming".

Family members of people detained by police are calling into question what they call "public shaming".

With more than 8,000 fans, Vacaville Police say using their public page to post wanted criminals has led to several arrests. But not everyone is OK with this form of public shaming.

“He was on there and he wasn’t even in jail yet," Philomena Wothe said.

Wothe's brother, Louis Latini, was one such person photographed and uploaded to Vacaville's Police Facebook page. Latini's image showed him alongside a gun, and the social media post said the 47-year-old is a convicted felon caught driving on a suspended license, in possession of meth for sale, heroin and more.

“I get a call and they says 'Philly, your brother is on Facebook passed out or something and it’s on Facebook'. I said who would do that? It was the Vacaville Police Department," Wothe said.

She found the post showing her brother in the back of a squad car, and fired back, commenting on the post. And she's not the only one, scanning the department's photos, there are others who call into question the officers' public sharing.

The department responded to one woman's comment minutes after it was posted, saying, in part:

"The public wants and has the right to know what's going on in their neighborhoods. ... If you were his many victims I'm sure you would want to know who stole from you. These posts are in no way an attempt to humiliate an arrestee or their family members."