The police defend social media to deal with diffuse

This undated photo booking released in a wanted poster of the Torrington, Conn., Police on his Facebook page shows Jose Simms, a fugitive with seven arrest warrants requested after failing to appear in court. An official in the department to reach a deal with the fugitive on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, that has been agreed to for itself as there were 15,000 likes of the wanted poster on social media. (Torrington Police via AP)

HARTFORD, Conn. – Police in Connecticut town were still looking Friday for a fugitive who failed to honor an agreement to surrender and once enough people responded positively to his wanted poster on social media.

Jose Simms, 29, has seven warrants of arrest and is sought as a fugitive after failing to appear in court on charges ranging from breach of the peace, to reduce the risk of injury to a child.

He was probably somewhere in New York.

Torrington police Lt. Brett Johnson posted on the department Facebook page on Wednesday that Simms had contact with him via the social media site and agreed to turn himself in if the post with his poster and received 15,000 likes.

The page has far surpassed that number, but still no sign of Simms.

The police said that despite the no-show, they are satisfied with the decision to enter into the agreement.

“Generate a phone, and the tips and clues that we might otherwise not have been able to get,” Lt. Bart Barown said. “We have all kinds of information and tips that will help us.”

Barown said the Facebook post was just one of the many tools being used to try and get simms in custody. He noted that the national publicity in the media — including a country song parody about the case by the band Dixie Jade — has made it harder for the simms to hide.

“We’ll get him,” Barown said.

The deal led to some criticism. Maki Haberfeld, an expert in police ethics and the procedure at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said simms is the use of social media to manipulate the media and the police, which they said have no business negotiating a deal with a suspect, let alone one that is going to likes on Facebook.

“It turns this into a joke,” she said. “People will start looking at these different violations of the law as a game.”

Simms not on Friday to a Facebook message seeking comment, and took to his Facebook page. On Wednesday, he had written that he was “a man of my word” and said that he had decided to negotiate his surrender, because “looking over your shoulder every 5 seconds can cause a lot of stress.”

He also responded to the original Torrington Police post, complain about his mug shot on the site, calling it a “trash pic.”

“Jose, it’s the only one we had.hopefully we get a ‘good’ soon, ” the department answered.


This story is corrected to the fugitive’s name is Jose Simms, not Sims.

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