ACLU calls police department’s Facebook post ‘alarming’

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Police posted to Facebook wanting to know where a Santa Fe man accused of burglarizing homes is, but the man has no warrants for his arrest and now the post has sparked controversy.

There’s no doubt, police departments across the country have taken advantage of social media

“It’s a way to get information out quickly to the public,” Paul Haidle said.

Haidle is an attorney who works with the ACLU New Mexico chapter as a criminal justice advocate.

Just two weeks ago the Santa Fe Police Department called out the courts on Facebook for letting Adrian Bleamer out of jail. The department then made a rare request in the same post asking the public to help track the suspect around town.

Santa Fe Police frequently uses Facebook to advertise their fugitives of the week. Two weeks ago it was Bleamer.

Police, who referred to Bleamer, 40, as a “frequent flier for law enforcement” say since October officers have arrested him four times on charges of burglary and receiving stolen property.

However, court records show Bleamer has never been convicted in any of those cases.

Last month, police say Bleamer broke into a home off Old Pecos Trail. Shortly after, there was a warrant out for his arrest.

After he was caught, police said he was back on the streets within a “few hours.”

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Santa Fe County Magistrate Judge George Anaya said he was forced to release Bleamer because a prosecutor never showed at his hearing to argue against his release.

The next day, Santa Fe Police posted a photo of Bleamer to Facebook, along with a request for the public.

The post read:

“An Alert to the community.. a few hours after Mr. Bleamer was picked up.. he was again released from jail by the court. If you see Mr. Bleamer, he is not wanted on a Warrant.. but please let Police know where he is as he continues to be a property crimes threat to our neighborhoods.”

Haidle, like others on social media, said the post was irresponsible and alarming.

“Not only are we asking citizens to surveil one another, we’re also putting, potentially, this person in harm’s way or another community member in harm’s way,” he said.

In response, Santa Fe police issued the following statement: “As for the post.. we were simply letting citizens know that Mr. Bleamer was back out in our city again and to watch for him. We frequently warn citizens about threats to our community ranging from warrants and scams to cases that may affect their lives and property.”

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