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Renton police responds to media regarding hunt for anonymous cartoonist
Yesterday I mentioned a bizarre story about the Renton Police Department and city prosecutor trying to uncover the identity of an anonymous cartoonist/animator who was posting stories about alleged misconduct or at least mocking the department. The police were unwilling to respond to the reporter when first contact, but as the story has gone viral, they’ve now issued a statement outlining why the charge of cyberstalking is appropriate in their view.
After defining what the statute regarding Cyberstalking, the police chief’s statement read:
“Early this year, a series of nine videos were posted on YouTube. The purpose of these videos was to embarrass, torment, and harass specific members of the police department and other city employees. The videos currently posted by a local media outlet are a very mild representation of the entirety of the contents. The videos that are the basis of the criminal investigation are being released this afternoon.
“Often, law enforcement is accused of failing to investigate incidents of misconduct, and/or minimizing the actions of officers. The videos we are releasing today meet the definition of a crime. As with other reports of crime occurring within the City, we will investigate to determine if a crime has been committed and to prosecute such crime.
“In this case, we obtained search warrants for various internet sources in an attempt to identify the suspect in the case. We believe that the suspect in this case is either a department employee or one who is closely associated with the department.
“Once a thorough investigation has been completed, and if the suspect is identified, the case will be submitted to the appropriate prosecutor’s office for review. It is the responsibility of the prosecutor’s office to determine if criminal charges will be filed.
“As the Police Chief, I have the responsibility to the citizens of Renton to ensure that our officers are acting within the law and within department policy. I would rather err on the side of investigating all incidents of alleged criminal misconduct rather than risk failing to investigate a crime.”