In New York City, we know all too well the heartache of gang violence and how it affects families and the community. But the 2019 murder of Aamir Griffin was particularly heartbreaking.
Griffin was well known by the South Jamaica community as a star athlete and all-around “good kid” who was senselessly gunned down on a local basketball court on October 26, 2019, in an apparent case of mistaken identity during a gang feud. Since then, law enforcement has been trying to pin down the known suspect who continued to dodge their best efforts.
Eighteen-year-old Sean Brown was arrested and indicted in California last month in connection with the shooting death of Griffin and subsequently waived his extradition rights.
He was returned to New York and has been charged with second-degree murder. As has become very common with technology availability, he was tracked down by law enforcement using social media.
How Police Use Social Media to Monitor Suspects
While most people use social media regularly, many don’t realize the many ways it can be used against them, particularly if they are facing criminal charges. Law enforcement agencies around the country have been tracking social media accounts of suspects for years, even using information posted online to charge suspects and make arrests.
According to Government Technology, monitoring public social media platforms is a common way for law enforcement to collect information and monitor suspects. After a manual search, agencies can then feed posted photos to facial recognition algorithms to ensure the similarity of those collected in their database.
These can include mugshots, driver’s license photos, photo IDs, or other images collected by the law enforcement agency. A recent report by Detroit’s Board of Police Commissioners indicates that 35 percent of their facial recognition investigations used photos from social media posts.
While privacy concerns have been hotly debated recently, and civil rights groups have worried that this monitoring can be misused, today’s reality is that if you have been accused or suspected of a crime and have information on social media, it can be used against you by various law enforcement agencies. Such was the case for Sean Brown.
As for Brown, both the NYPD and district attorney say they have significant evidence against him, including video surveillance of him running from the area after the shooting and audio of him telling others that he had hit his intended target. If he is found guilty, he could face 25 years to life behind bars.
Getting Legal Guidance
Anytime someone is facing criminal charges or even civil actions, care should be taken about what is posted to social media. Social media is public and is often used in criminal cases as well as many civil cases, from divorce to personal injury claims.
If you have been accused of a crime in New York, you should get the immediate advice and guidance of a skilled criminal defense attorney. At Bukh Law Firm, we have dedicated our careers to defending those who have been accused of committing crimes in New York City.
Contact us at (800) 601-0207 (toll-free), (212) 729-1632, or online to schedule a no-cost consultation to review your case and your legal options.