California cops publish suspect photos with LEGO heads to comply with new state law

"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," the agency said.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
A California police department published suspect images with LEGO heads instead of faces in response to a new woke state law that prohibits law enforcement agencies from posting mug shots of people accused of nonviolent offenses on social media.

The Murrieta Police Department has found a comedic way to comply with the new law and issued a series of arrest photos which consist of Lego heads with a variety of facial expressions photoshopped over the faces of suspects.

The department explained its reasoning behind the gesture in a post on Instagram.

"The Murrieta Police Department prides itself in its transparency with the community, but also honors everyone’s rights & protections as afforded by law; even suspects," the department said.

"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," they added.

Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1475 into law in 2021 which prohibits local law enforcement from publishing mug shots on social media platforms if the individual is accused of a nonviolent crime, unless it would aid in the capture of the suspect; a judge orders the release of the photo; or there is an existing threat to others.

Additionally, the state expanded on the prohibition last year in amendment AB 994 to include the removal of all mug shots from social media after 14 days, regardless of the crime.

The police department has been obscuring suspect photos for several years now and has used Barbie heads and Shrek faces to cover the faces of suspects as well.

"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," the department said in a previous post, according to NYP.

"Our goal is 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," the agency added.

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