Posted on August 4, 2011 at 5:59 PM
Thursday, Aug 4 at 11:18 PM
RENTON, Wash. -- A parody of Renton police and other public officials posted on YouTube has triggered a criminal investigation into cyberstalking.
The chief says they discovered a series of cartoons on the Internet that not only embarrass and humiliate the people depicted, but also rises to the level of cyberstalking.
Many of the cartoons show animated versions of current and former members of the Renton Police Department, and reflect or distort real life incidents being investigated by internal affairs.
Renton police is trying to find out who made the cartoons. One of the cartoons even mocks a department employee's right to free speech.
Renton Police Chief Kevin Milosevich says,"We ran the facts of this case by a prosecutor and they supported the information that met the definition of the crime, and were able to obtain a search warrant based on that information that was signed by a judge..."
"That's really not the way the cyberstalking law should be used," says Doug Honig, of the ACLU. He says posting the cartoons could be a personnel issue for the city of Renton, but not a crime.
"In general, you have a right to post parodies on the internet, even ones that people find very offensive," says Honig.
A total of nine videos were posted on YouTube. Whoever made them would have to have access to internal affairs information. The chief believes it is a member of someone closely related to his department.