While we at Law Enforcement Today are aware that the risks associated with COVID-19 are serious, it’s refreshing to see law enforcement inject humor into the gravity of the virus.
If you’ve scrolled through various social media sites lately, you may have seen what we’re talking about.
Various official social media accounts for police departments have used the platforms to kindly ask criminals to not commit crimes while cities and departments tackle the viral outbreak.
If you’re unaware of the humor, it obviously an ironic sort of rallying cry.
Several police departments have poked fun at the massive amount of posts online providing guidance on what to do in light of COVID-19.
Due to the confirmed case of #COVIDー19 from community spread, SLCPD is asking all criminal activities/nefarious behavior to cease until further notice. We appreciate your anticipated cooperation in halting crime & thank criminals in advance. #SocialDistancingNow #behaveyourself pic.twitter.com/JeQnQKdXAT
— SLC Police Dept. (@slcpd) March 14, 2020
Unless you’ve lived under a rock in the past few weeks, you’ve likely seen every kind of social media personality, verified company account, or some random person among your friend list doling out advice.
Due to local cases of #COVID-19, PPD is asking all criminal activities and nefarious behavior to cease. We appreciate your cooperation in halting crime & thank the criminals in advance. We will let you know when you can resume your normal behavior. Until then #washyourhands
— Puyallup Police (@PuyallupPD) March 16, 2020
We’ve seen calls related to reiterating that people wash their hands properly, requests to avoid social gatherings of a certain size, to cover your mouth when coughing, and so on.
Because, as we all know, when someone is asked to do such things via shared posts then everyone follows suit (insert sarcasm).
As a result, police departments figured they’d get in on that kind of action. While it’s an obvious joke, it also can’t hurt to give it a shot either.
Some of the captioned posts were simply gems, like the following from the Kenosha Police Department:
“Due to the growing concern over the flu, Coronavirus and other sicknesses, the decision was made to cancel all crime in the Kenosha area. We are unsure when this ban will be lifted.”
The Powell County Sheriff’s Office also got in on the hijinks, with a little bit more quip at the end than most posts:
“Due to the coronavirus, the Sheriff’s department is asking that all criminal activities stop until further notice. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation in the matter. We will update you when we deem it’s appropriate to proceed with yo bad selves.”
On top of posts by police solely for entertainment purposes, some departments shared posts that were inadvertently funny.
At least that was the case for the Newport, Oregon Police Department.
The NOPD had to share on Facebook that people cannot dial 9-1-1 simply because they ran out of toilet paper.
They even offered insight into alternatives to toilet tissue when nature calls:
“Seamen used old rope and anchor lines soaked in salt water. Ancient Romans used a sea sponge on a stick, also soaked in salt water. We are a coastal town. We have an abundance of salt water available. Sea shells were also used.”
In instances such as these, sometimes we all need a good laugh at the chaos going around. It’s great to see that our police officers are not only providing security for us throughout time, but can offer us some mental respite with the ongoing pandemic.
While some pranks lead to a laugh, others lead to a gross-out reaction – and then some legal trouble as well.
Much like the “prank” that happened in Port Arthur, Texas, where someone tried to make their own viral Facebook post for laughs by tainting some ice cream on video.
They say when you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes. That’s the case after a judge sentenced the infamous Blue Bell ice cream licker to jail and probation on March 4th.
A video posted to Facebook in August of last year showcased D’Adrien L’Quinn Anderson taking out a tub of Blue Bell ice cream from a Wal-Mart display and licking the ice cream before returning it to the display.
In what was likely an attempt to gain that internet-viral fame, instead turned into online backlash. As well as criminal charges.
If Anderson was hoping to get his face recognized everywhere, he certainly accomplished that. Except now, that recognition comes compliments of a mugshot.
Many believe that Anderson was trying to copy the trend that was taking place online at the time, dubbed the #icecreamchallenge.
In nearly every incident recorded, it was Blue Bell ice cream being licked and placed back into displays.
NOT AGAIN!! Another person accused of licking ice cream THIS TIME IN LOUISIANA, has been arrested. According to the Assumption Parish Sheriff's Office, this guy licked the ice cream in a Belle Rose store. @WAFB
READ MORE HERE>>> https://t.co/tjmhroh8ZL pic.twitter.com/dyDYbbwRIq
— Scottie Hunter WAFB (@ScottieWAFB) July 7, 2019
In one of the first known instances of the challenge cropping up online, also in Texas, police identified and arrested a woman for the same act. However, since she was a juvenile, police neither revealed the status of her case nor her identity.
— Daniel (@vamp1r0) July 4, 2019
One of the many unamused by the antics of Anderson was Judge Terrance Holmes.
Anderson could have been looking at six months in jail, but Judge Holmes afforded Anderson to take on two years’ probation in lieu of half a year in jail.
During his probation, Anderson will have to complete one hundred hours of community service, pay a $1,000 fine, and also pay $1,565 in restitution to Blue Bell Creameries.
On top of all that, Anderson will still have to serve thirty days in jail. After the judge handed down the sentence, Anderson was immediately escorted from the court room over to the county jail.
When the video first came out and the criticisms were coming from all direction against Anderson, he claimed that he actually purchased the ice cream that he licked.
The Wal-Mart where the incident took place also corroborated the story of his purchase, but it was still too late as the damage had already been done. At that point, police were still intent on pursuing criminal mischief charges, which is exactly what they did.
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One of the biggest motivating factors in the case being pursued, whether or not Anderson actually bought the ice cream, was that it caused public health concerns. Posing the question of how many more containers of ice cream were potentially contaminated.
Blue Bell was forced to replace the entire display of ice cream to alleviate the public concern, hence the restitution order placed against the defendant in the case.
The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office feel as though they handled the case perfectly by treating it as one of criminal mischief instead of someone trying to play a prank for internet fame.
A statement by the DA’s office said:
“Anderson’s actions caused public concerns about the safety and quality of consumer products offered for public consumption, impacted Blue Bell consumer confidence and caused the company financial loss.”
The DA’s office couldn’t have said that better. In the wake of the gross-out prank perpetrated by Anderson, people weren’t exactly beating down the doors to buy a tub of Blue Bell ice cream.
— SoCalBrah (@Citizen_Insane_) July 4, 2019
In fact, people were saying that Blue Bell needed to find ways to reinforce their products’ packaging to thwart these kinds of “pranks”.
— Salma (@SalmaSlili) July 15, 2019
The DA also wanted the public to know that these kinds of acts are going to be prosecuted, every time:
“This type of activity will not be tolerated. The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office and the Port Arthur Police Department want the public to know that such cases will be taken seriously and appropriate criminal charges will be filed.”
The moral in all this is that the internet fame isn’t worth engaging in criminal acts such as Anderson’s case.
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