Police Captain Jeffrey Schiff of the 76th Precinct in Brooklyn has taken the rare initiative to run his own neighborhood Twitter feed and use it to out convicted criminals. “Released & recently seen in our community,” he writes, along with names and mugshots. “major history of DRUGS & BREAK-INS … known 2 frequent Red Hook & surrounding area.” So much for rehabilitation.
“Everyone can absorb this information and intelligently assimilate it and look out for their neighbors and look out for their community,” he told DNAinfo. “The only way to get the community involvement that I’m looking for is to let people know what’s going on in the precinct.”
Schiff has called out ten men so far, but only six with recent arrests or convictions. The practice is at least unsettling to civil liberties activists like Legal Aid, which is considering a lawsuit. “If they want to sue, let them sue. They’ll lose,” Schiff said. “It’s all public information, I’m just making it easier for you. Once a person is convicted, all the gloves come off, and that’s it.”
Rachel Barkow, a criminal law professor from NYU, is more skeptical. “It sort of undercuts the idea of someone reentering society,” she said to DNAinfo. “This marks a shift from you do your time and you’re supposed to be rehabilitated by the end of your time and be released back in the community, to something that’s more punitive.” He could at least take it easy with the all-caps.