In Ocean County, New Jersey a man recently confronted a suspected online predator at a Toms River strip mall. Of course, the incident was being live-streamed on Facebook Live at the time. The man conducting the amateur sting is also said to have a YouTube channel as well. However, for once, police were called to the scene by workers at the strip mall. While an investigation is ongoing, no charges have been filed against either man.
This wasn’t the man’s first foray into vigilante videos as a previous live-streamed confrontation garnered over 200,000 views. That’s what this is really all about, isn’t it? In my opinion, these Facebook vigilantes aren’t about getting justice, they’re more about getting likes, views, and followers. These confrontations are more of a social media stunt than an actual investigation.
Let’s not also forget that they’re probably doing more harm than good when it comes to actual prosecutions of the predators. Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer, who asked the man to desist in his dubious crime-fighting efforts, said as much…
Text exchanges leading up to the meet-up may not be admissible in court if a defense lawyer successfully argues entrapment – when a law enforcement agent induced a person to commit the crime. Professionals are trained to avoid that, Billhimer said.
Again, while I’m no fan of any kind of sexual predator, let the police do their job before they arrest you for interfering in police business, or you run into a predator who’s got nothing left to lose.