Finding the suspects who brutally attacked a gay couple was made easier by virtual online detectives after the cops made a plea for the help on social media. This plea turned successful as in no time the suspects names were obtained by the explosion of social media sleuths joining in to help.
This isn’t the first time that social media has assisted police in finding suspects wanted in a crime and as one Philadelphia Police Detective Joe Murray tweeted, “This is how Twitter is supposed to work for cops.” He also said something that people tend to forget and that is “We are all in this together.” The gay couple who were targeted by this crowd never had a chance against a dozen adults in attack mode.
According to ABC News on Sept. 17, a gay couple in their 20s were brutally attacked by a group of about a dozen people, who were believed to have targeted the couple because they are gay. This group held them down while punching and beating the two young men. During this beating, the men endured gay slurs being screamed at them by the group.
One man was beaten to the point that he had to have his jaw wired and this seemingly random violence left him with a broken eye socket. His partner had a black eye and numerous bruises. The community of Philadelphia took over and the investigation “exploded” online, according to MSN News.
Detective Murray tweeted “I will take a couple of thousand Twitter detectives” over any one real detective any day.” He said this for a good reason because the virtual sleuths jumped into action by someone first figuring out the restaurant the group had been at before they beat up this couple.
Next a video from that night at the restaurant was posted online and a clean-cut-looking group who attacked the couple was identified by folks on Facebook. The virtual detective work continued with yet another media sleuth using Facebook to see who “checked in” at the restaurant that night and then posting the list of names online. Then even more folks jumped in and matched the names on the list to those seen in the picture.
Within no time people were taking to Twitter identifying the group one by one, making solving this crime a true community effort. Philadelphia Police routinely take to the social media for help in solving crimes, but this one just took off like a wildfire putting all the pieces together in no time.
Officer Christine O’Brien was thrilled with the amount of people who came forward to help with the crime, she said “it’s not unusual.” Apparently sites like Twitter and Facebook are an excellent resource for crime solving.
A lawyer who was speaking under anonymity because he was not officially hired by the suspects in this case as of yet, said that the group suspects in this case consist mainly of young working professionals. He said he was contacted by a potential client early on Tuesday before the video of the group was posted. The “professionals” who beat the couple are expected to turn themselves in after their identities were posted online.