Man Livestreamed an Attack on Orlando Police Officers

On September 25, 2021, William McClish, a 27-year-old man, attacked two police officers with a brick. Before McClish attacked, he took the time to set up his phone. The attack was livestreamed on Facebook. It took four officers who arrived on the scene to detain McClish. He now faces several charges, including attempted first-degree murder.

Typically, social media is used for entertainment and recreational use; however, social media is directly impacting the criminal justice system. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat are channels of communication and information. Whether social media has a positive or negative impact on criminal justice depends on the user.

Is Social Media Good or Bad for Criminal Justice?

Social media has given the police unprecedented access to the public and vice versa. The benefit of this connection is real-time communication about incidents and events. Social media can be a useful tool during times of crisis or during the day-to-day routine. Being able to reach the public so quickly has proven to be invaluable. In some cases, social media is an essential tool in police investigations. Social media broadcasting of criminal trials has the added benefit of creating a new level of transparency to criminal proceedings.

As with many things in life, social media can be both good and bad. Unfortunately, social media can put users at risk, especially young people. Private information is made public, which opens up the possibility for criminals to use social media to track potential victims. Old crimes (i.e., harassment, threats or fraud, and identity theft) take on a whole new life through social media. Social media has also facilitated the creation of new crimes that are made possible by the digital nature of social media.

Additionally, social media has changed the way people interact with crime. Couch detectives are individuals who are eager to identify suspects and weigh in on investigations on social media. Although a couch detective’s intention is genuine, it can often distract law enforcement or wrongly accuse innocent people.

Performance Crime Is a Social Media Phenomenon

A performance crime is an illegal act committed for the specific purpose of having an audience during or after the crime. The perpetrator records (or has someone else record) a video of the crime and then posts the video on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube. There are two types of performance crimes:

  • Informed Consent Performance: Everyone involved in the crime is aware of the production. Perpetrators often film the crime themselves, and all perpetrators involved (to an extent) support the distribution of the video.
  • Uniformed/Unwitting Performance: The perpetrator does not inform a victim or other parties about the crime or the recording.

Performance crimes take many different forms. Such crimes could include hackers documenting their cyberattack, attackers who record a sexual assault, or a teenager recording themself shoplifting.

Social media creates a new dynamic that drives offenders to post their crimes as a form of influence over the victims. Crimes recorded on social media may result in performance victimization. Performance victimization is the new reality that adds public humiliation to criminal victimization. Victims now have to live with the fact that one of the worst moments of their lives is forever on social media.

Contact the Experienced Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm

At The Umansky Law Firm, we dedicate ourselves to representing everyday people fighting for their lives, often against larger adversaries. Our criminal defense attorneys have over 100 years of combined legal experience. Our team consists of former prosecutors on the state and local levels. We pride ourselves on the client-centered approach that helps us communicate effectively to build a solid legal case. Our dedication to providing trusted counsel, personalized strategies, and aggressive trial tactics allows us to fight for our clients’ best interests in court.

To schedule your free consultation, you can fill out our contact form or call (407) 228-3838.