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Don't SnapChat Kids

Posted by Sheridan England | Dec 14, 2023 | 0 Comments

Fairfax PD recently ANNOUNCED the arrest of a DC man accused of soliciting a minor on SnapChat.  REPORTS identify the man as Brian Dolan.

Fairfax Police often make press releases for serious criminal case arrests.  That's not out of the ordinary with any law enforcement entity.  But here's the problem we have with the Fairfax presser:  they basically say the man is guilty.  Fairfax PD writes:  "DETECTIVES FOLLOW DIGITAL FOOTPRINTS AND CATCH MAN SOLICITING A MINOR."

This might sound innocuous to most, but think about how this reads.  An arrest is based on probable cause.  Charges are brought on probable cause.  But Fairfax PD pretty much says "we saw this guy do it."   We would be apoplectic if the police wrote reports about our clients that said things like "Police catch man being guilty of murder."   We'd also take immediate legal action for something like that.

In all fairness to Fairfax Police, they're not journalists.  Patch wrote up this story as follows:  "Following the suspect's digital footprints, investigators identified D.C. resident Brian Dolan as a suspect in the case. They were also able to identify him via a surveillance video and the devices he had used for the solicitation."  This is a much better way to report this case.  Maybe Fairfax PD can take note.

By the way:  don't SnapChat kids.  Unless they're your kids.  And even then, maybe just give them a call or text them like a normal person.

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