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New state law prohibits law enforcement from posting mugshots on social media

Original post made on Jul 28, 2021

Police departments across California will no longer be able to splash mugshots over social media following a big arrest under a new state law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 28, 2021, 9:36 AM

Comments (10)

Posted by Local Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 28, 2021 at 10:54 am

Local Resident is a registered user.

Good law. I never understood why police departments could post individuals photos after being arrested without due process. It essential brands someone as guilty before trial.


Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 28, 2021 at 11:26 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

Why? Are they saying that we should wait until after a trial or plea? Then, law enforcement can plaster their photos all over social media?

Most of the time, the issue is public safety. If a suspect is still at large, then society has a right to know who to look for.


Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 28, 2021 at 12:03 pm

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

Sounds like a good law that will protect the innocent.


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2021 at 12:04 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

I'm reminded of watching Dan Abrams on MSNBC in the mid 90s having a conversation with a lawyer. "To say that people are innocent until proven guilty is saying the police consistently get it wrong." It was his show, but come on Dan. You're a lawyer, and you're very liberal. They went to commercial...


Posted by Hinrich
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 28, 2021 at 12:24 pm

Hinrich is a registered user.

"..the widespread publication of police booking photos in the news and on social media creates an illusory correlation for viewers that fosters racial bias and vastly overstates the propensity of black and brown men to engage in criminal behavior"

The public not only has right to see who is being arrested but needs to see these images to understand who is committing crimes in the community. The media has recently sensationalized 'racism' but the facts do not support charges that the public is either broadly racist or a system that is systematically racist. This law intends to erase the faces of crime to hide detail. [Portion removed.]

We need to see who is charged with and who is committing crime. Old. Young. Latino. White. Black. Asian. This informs the citizenry. CA and the ACLU is simply trying to hide information. Who just robbed the mall? Who broke into the Apple store? We need to see who is getting arrested. If we don't trust the courts to determine guilt, that's another story but the public must retain the right to know. Big media has caused a lot of damage lately but the solution isn't hiding information from the public.


Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 28, 2021 at 12:36 pm

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

Under US law, people are considered innocent until proven guilty. This new law seems consistent with that fundamental principal of law in our country. Being arrested does not mean one is guilty. Further, once a guilty person has been arrested, they are no longer a danger to the public. Posting mug shots after arrest seems unnecessary and could be harmful to those who are wrongly accused.

I value the work police do for our community, but they are people and they sometimes make mistakes and sometimes there may be bad actors in their ranks (as can happen in any organization). The law protects all of us from these possibilities. That's a good thing, in my view.


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2021 at 12:46 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

I don't believe in hiding information from the public, and I don't believe in public shaming either. Public shaming is what happens when too much information is posted on the internet. The internet wasn't designed as a harassment tool.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 28, 2021 at 1:04 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

The old idea of mugshots and even pictures on Wanted posters, is outdated in the internet world.

Someone wanted for a crime, someone arrested, having their picture put on the internet, means that it never goes away. Even if innocent, that picture, the public naming, will remain there.

This will protect the innocent and particularly in cases where the crime is sensationalized or has a sensitive nature, it is a good thing. An innocent person, proved innocent in court, or by subsequent evidence nullifying a charge, should be able to return to their anonymous life.


Posted by Hinrich
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 29, 2021 at 7:46 am

Hinrich is a registered user.

While I agree with the privacy concerns, there may be a bigger concern of government operating in the dark. There is a fine line between government limiting information as an investigation begins and routinely blocking the public's view of it's activities. Protecting the public from forming negative prejudices against one group or another is government trying to control ideas. That isn't good. Social media and the so-called press routinely exploit everything - trial by Twitter and trial by TV is a very real problem but we should be very cautious about encouraging censorship. As we protect privacy, which is very important, we also don't want the government hiding information 'in our best interest' that can just as well reveal the injustice of an arrest or charge to a public aware of the events of the day. PAO - to their credit - seem to take a fair approach.


Posted by David, PA Hills
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 30, 2021 at 10:42 pm

David, PA Hills is a registered user.

I have one for you, don’t commit a crime and you will never have to worry about having your picture plastered. Same applies to the no bail, if you can’t afford bail don’t commit a crime.


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