Police worry about people turning to social media during emergencies
Published Thursday, September 21, 2017 6:28PM EDT
Police officials in Sudbury are concerned with the actions of some onlookers during police operations or emergencies.
One such problem came up during a recent incident in the city's Flour Mill area earlier this week.
A man had barricaded himself in an upper apartment and he was throwing items at police and firefighters.
It was a stand-off that lasted almost six hours and it drew a large crowd of curious onlookers; with many people posting live video on social media.
"We understand that people like to post on social media, but they don't understand, the people that are in that stress might see those posts on social media and that could make it worse for them," explained Inspector Todd Zimmerman, Greater Sudbury Police Service.
Police said the videos can also put officers at risk by showing their locations.
During the standoff, the barricaded man had a knife and he appeared in the window yelling at police.
At one point a man in the crowd began yelling at the suspect; telling him to jump and calling him a profane name.
It's something police say could have made a tense situation take a turn for the worse.
"When people come to these events, aggravating the person who is under stress, to potentially try and get them to do something (is not helpful). The police are trying to resolve the situation peacefully with an individual or group of individuals, and don't want to be distracted by other people who are close to that area," said Zimmerman.
Robby Lavoie watched the incident unfold and recorded it on his phone.
"I was recording. I was even asked at one point to leave by a police officer, so I did. I backed up across the street," he said.
"It is (my) right to record and it's something we are allowed to do, but I believe at the same time you have to give the police the room to do their job. They obviously did their job very well and it ended very peacefully."
In the future, police are asking people to post their videos after an incident is over and to never interfere with their efforts to peacefully resolve these types of situations.