California Police Department Uses Lego Heads to Conceal Suspects’ Faces in Mugshots

California Police Department Uses Lego Heads to Conceal Suspects’ Faces in Mugshots

A police vehicle pulls up next to two officers standing at their vehicle outside a closed school near downtown Los Angeles, Calif., on Dec. 15, 2015. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Aldgra Fredly

Aldgra Fredly

3/20/2024

Updated: 3/20/2024

A California police department has taken a creative approach to conceal the faces of suspects in mugshots and arrest photos by replacing their faces with Lego heads following the enactment of a new law on Jan. 1.
The Murrieta Police Department recently posted several altered photos of suspects on its Instagram account, in which Lego heads were placed over the suspects’ faces, drawing attention from the public.
In an Instagram post on March 18, the department said that its action was prompted by a new law that prohibits law enforcement agencies in California from sharing photos and mugshots of suspects accused of a nonviolent crime “unless special circumstances exist.”
The new law, dubbed Assembly Bill 994 and Penal Code 13665, requires that law enforcement agencies remove any booking photo shared on social media after 14 days, except in special circumstances.
“The Murrieta Police Department prides itself in its transparency with the community, but also honors everyone’s rights [and] protections as afforded by law; even suspects,” the caption reads.
“In order to share what is happening in Murrieta, we chose to cover the faces of suspects to protect their identity while still aligning with the new law,” it added.
In November last year, the department stated in an Instagram post that it decided not to post the faces of arrestees “after weighing a lot of factors,” even though some departments had continued to do so.
“At the time of that passing the department had an internal discussion about posting the faces of arrestees in general,” it stated.
The department cited the AB1475 bill, passed in California in 2021, which prohibited law enforcement agencies from posting booking photos for “nonviolent crimes” except under specific circumstances.
“There are circumstances that arise that do necessitate or warrant the posting of an arrestees face but the dept decided those would be the exceptions and not the rule.
“Some of the reasons were the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law, the effects a post could have on an individual or their families outside of the criminal proceedings they may be subject to (public shaming) and some of it came down to workload (monitoring posts and messages, fielding calls etc and making decisions related to pictures posted on social media and acting on those decision plus archival requirements our dept adheres to),” it stated.
The department affirmed that it aims “to keep our citizens informed on what is occurring in the City in which we all live as well as the work the police department is doing on behalf of the citizens.”
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Aldgra Fredly

Aldgra Fredly

Author

Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer covering U.S. and Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.

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