Facebook Live reflects crime, societal ills - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Facebook Live reflects crime, societal ills

Rape and child abuse are among the crimes that Facebook users have streamed live. (Source: Facebook) Rape and child abuse are among the crimes that Facebook users have streamed live. (Source: Facebook)
Four people were arrested and charged in Chicago after allegedly beating and taunting a mentally disabled man, shown live on Facebook. (Chicago Police Department via AP File) Four people were arrested and charged in Chicago after allegedly beating and taunting a mentally disabled man, shown live on Facebook. (Chicago Police Department via AP File)
This Nov. 16, 2016, photo shows a Facebook Live billboard on the side of a building near New York's Penn Station. Aside from history, Facebook users have taped crimes live. (AP Photo/Anick Jesdanun) This Nov. 16, 2016, photo shows a Facebook Live billboard on the side of a building near New York's Penn Station. Aside from history, Facebook users have taped crimes live. (AP Photo/Anick Jesdanun)

(RNN) - People are using Facebook Live for more than recording frolicking animals and family fun. Indeed, it mirrors the violence and tragedy of life.

Police nationwide are on the lookout for Steve Stephens, 37, who randomly killed a Cleveland man, posting the video on Facebook, WOIO reported

People have used Facebook Live to capture crimes such as rape, torture, child and animal abuse.

In January, three men were arrested in Sweden for rape after recording the assault on Facebook Live, the Guardian said.

A Memphis man was arrested in August for taping on Facebook Live a sexual encounter between an underage girl, a teenage boy and an adult, WMC reported.

Police arrested two teen boys in Chicago after five or six males raped a 15-year-old girl on Facebook Live on March 19, NPR said. As many as 40 people watched the attack without calling police.

People online added to the victim's trauma by taunting her, Chicago Police Commander Brendan Deenihan told NPR.

"We obviously have a video of the incident, so we have verifiable, objective evidence of what occurred to this young lady, but she's just having a very difficult time," says the commander. "And then on top of it, constant social media bullying ... people are really making fun of the victim and just a lot of off-color comments about what occurred, and now this is causing a lot more trauma to this victim."

This is at least the second crime broadcast on Facebook Live in Chicago this year.

In January, two young men and two young women were arrested and charged with hate crimes and torture after broadcasting the abuse of a young man with disabilities.

Sharing violence online predates Facebook Live. 

A notorious instance occurred Aug. 26, 2015, when reporter Alison Parker and Adam Ward were fatally shot on live TV during an interview in Virginia.

While on the run, the shooter, Bryce Williams, posted videos he took of shooting Parker and Ward on Twitter before shooting himself, CNN reported.

Despite the disturbing nature of some of the crimes posted, Facebook Live also shined a light into a police-involved killing.

On July 6, Diamond Reynolds streamed the aftermath on Facebook Live after Philando Castile was shot and killed during a traffic stop by a Minneapolis police officer. 

That incident, along with the shooting death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA the previous day, ignited protests across the nation.

The officer who shot Castile, Jeronimo Yanez, was charged with second-degree manslaughter in November, CNN reported. He entered a not-guilty plea in February.

In August, Korryn Gaines taped her five-hour standoff with Baltimore Police on Facebook Live, the Guardian said. She was barricaded inside her apartment with her 5-year-old son as officers attempted to serve a warrant.

Police shot and killed her sometime after Facebook shut off her account.

Facebook Live also captured incidents of child abuse and neglectful parenting, sometimes leading to charges.

A mother was arrested and charged in March for streaming her 10-year-old son driving in Monroe, CT, WFSB said.

In January, an 18-year-old Columbus, OH, mother was charged with child abuse after taping her 2-year-old to a wall and posting it on Facebook Live, the Guardian reported.

And in July, Georgia mother Shanavia Miller broadcast herself beating her 16-year-old daughter on her daughter's Facebook page as punishment, the Washington Post

Animal abusers have captured their crimes on Facebook live, including an Alabama man who set fire to a tortoise, WSFA reported

A Nashville woman was charged with animal cruelty after videoing herself swinging a puppy by its neck and throwing it to the ground, WKRN said.

Criminals have bragged about their crimes on Facebook Live.

Michael Vance, a fugitive on the run from police after a double murder, broadcast commentary on Facebook Live in October. He later died in a gun battle with police, KFOR reported.

Tragically, people also have taken to Facebook Live to commit suicide, shocking the world, and bringing attention to what the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.

Foster child Nakia Venant, 14, of Miami, hung herself on Facebook Live on Jan. 22, the Miami Herald said. Although her friends told authorities what was happening, emergency officials didn't arrive in time to save her. 

Before hanging herself in the front yard of her home on Facebook Live Dec. 30, Katelyn Nicole Davis, 12, alleged that a family member physically and sexually abused her, Fox 5 Atlanta said

Jay Browdy, 33, shot himself in his car on a Los Angeles street Jan. 23 after threatening his own life on Facebook Live, the New York Daily News reported.

How to help

If you see something that's criminal or disturbing on Facebook, you can take action.

If you see someone in danger, contact law enforcement.

For those people who are threatening suicide, contact emergency services, Facebook said.

"After you've called emergency services, connect with your friend or call someone who can," Facebook said. "Showing that you care matters. Make sure they know that you're there for them, and that they aren't alone."

For those who wish to report something, Facebook has dedicated a page to help users.

"We remove content, disable accounts, and work with law enforcement when we believe there is a genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety," Facebook said. 

It also prohibits people bragging about criminal activities.

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