Police Officer Vaughan Ettienne’s Social Media Actions Gets Ex-Con Acquitted

Posted Mar 12, 2009

Police officers have to be more careful in today’s world of everyone watching everyone else.  Videos such as “Don’t Tase Me, Bro” and the video of the police officer pushing a defenseless bicyclist in Times Square are causing police officers to become penalized.  Now this is the first time I’ve heard of a police officer being penalized for making comments on videos and changing his information on Facebook and MySpace profiles.

Ars Technica is reporting that police officer Vaughan Ettienne’s MySpace profile, Facebook profile, and comments on a video are being subpoenaed by the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn as part of a police brutality case.  Ettienne chased down an ex-convict on a stolen motorcycle.  The ex-convict supposedly had a loaded gun, ammunition, and was on parole for a burglary conviction.  The ex-con is accusing Ettienne of planting a loaded gun on the suspect and then beat him unmercifully, causing a break in three ribs.

Ettienne did not really do much to mask his online identity.  On his MySpace profile, he set his status to “Devious” and wrote on his Facebook status that he was “watching ?Training Day? to brush up on proper police procedure.”  On a video called “Cop Slugs Handcuffed Suspect” on the Internet, Etienne commented, “If he wanted to tune him up some he shoulda delayed cuffing him. […] And if you WERE gonna hit a cuffed suspect at least get your moneys worth cause now he’s gonna get disciplined for a f*gg*t ass love tap!”  I would put a direct link to the video but it is covered in adult ads.

Ettienne stated that all of his comments on the Internet were just “locker room talk” and did not actually apply to his policies on the streets.  The ex-con ended up being acquitted as a result. With cases like these, it would not be a surprise to me if the headcam for cops, made by Taser becomes mandatory uniform.