Montgomery Co. police chief wants witnesses to call for help before posting online

The police chief in Montgomery County, Maryland, is calling attention to the indifference to human suffering displayed by those who witness violent crime and video-record it instead of calling 911.

Montgomery County police Chief Marcus Jones spoke out against the actions of those who witnessed the shooting of a 15-year-old boy at Magruder High School on Jan. 21 and posted videos of the wounded victim on Twitter and Snapchat instead of calling 911 or alerting school staff.

“It’s very disturbing and troubling … we’re starting to see this way too often in our community that we have people who are witnessing tragic events like this and really not getting the help necessary to the victims in a timely manner,” Jones told WTOP.

He penned an opinion piece in The Washington Post Friday, calling out those who were more concerned about posting the video of the crime scene online instead of the well-being of the boy. The teen continues to recover, and a 17-year-old has been charged in the shooting.

Jones said getting aid to victims of violent crime is a matter of simple humanity.

“There’s a time and a place for everything, and I think the time to post things on social media comes at a later time, where getting people the help they need needs to be more immediate,” Jones said.

The police chief said he hopes the actions of those at Magruder High School serve as a teachable moment. He wants parents, teachers and even the tech companies to acknowledge the phenomenon and help turn it around.

“There’s an opportunity to educate everyone about good social media protocols that we should all have, particularly when it comes to people who have been injured,” Jones said.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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