Ohio rape case: Evidence on social media creates new world for justice (+video)
Investigators in the Ohio rape case confiscated electronic devices from those involved. Evidence from social media allows jurors to rely more on common sense and less on expert testimony.
(Page 2 of 3)
“Is it really rape because you don’t know if she wanted to or not? … She might have wanted to. That might have been her final wish,” one teenager is shown saying, according to CNN.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Local police say they are also tracking a possible video that is purported to show both boys participating in the violent attack.
The role social media plays in violent crimes is a relatively recent phenomenon dating back to the popularity of so-called “flash mobs,” which are public events involving group action that are planned and then executed using social media.
In some high-profile cases, the flash mobs have been used by gangs of youths to carry out the group beatings of strangers. On Sunday, a flash mob was blamed for a riot that broke out in Baton Rouge, La., where 200 teenagers engaged in a fight, causing the mall to be evacuated.
Law enforcement is also increasingly perusing social media sites to learn more about gang activity and get a better sense of when retaliation among certain groups will strike. For example, last year, police departments in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia announced units to investigate social media behavior among gang factions, which often use mobile technology to plan, and later brag about, violent acts related to turf battles.
In Chicago, the strategy was used to investigate Keith Cozart, a rap star known as Chief Keef, who bragged on Twitter after a rival was gunned down in September. Mr. Cozart was also known for YouTube clips in which he mocked the slain victim.
Another local rapper named Lil Reese, whose real name is Tavares Taylor, came under scrutiny in October following the release of an online video to multiple hip-hop sites that show him severely beating an unidentified woman at a party. He was not charged because the woman could not be identified.
“When your morality is so degraded that you do these thing in the first place, whether it’s beating somebody up or, even worse, raping someone, the appeal for some people is, as a part of that process, to proclaim to the world you did that and have documentation,” Mr. Levinson says.
He cautions against blaming the technology itself, but says that the rapid ease of taking videos and interacting with others is merely enabling certain people to capitalize on their darker predispositions.