back to article Man battles police siege with Facebook

Local US police are deciding whether to charge the friends of a suspect for Facebooking with him during an armed siege. Utah resident Jason Valdez, 38, was reportedly holding a hostage during an 16-hour, overnight stand-off with police and SWAT teams. He took time out, however, to keep his friends and family up to date on …


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  1. Tommy Pock


    If you champion free speech for your citizens you can't pick and choose which bits of speech are allowed to be free and which aren't.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it's time to block facebook

    Facebook has been one legal disaster after another. How stupid do you have to be to still have a facebook account? It is a cyberwarfare false flag platform for those in the USA.

    While facebook might work for the Arab revolution where people on facebook don't actually have an address to match their identity for the flash mob, it only goes to prove that in the US facebook has no such protection and will in fact used to harass even the acquaintances of a facebook user, or their activism. Of course the banksters and government officials love it which is why they value it at $50 billion. (An amount of money you couldn't count if you started right now until the end of your life)

    While everyone was focused on the government of Egypt cutting their communication lines off, and how nice the twitter revolution. Everyone should have be focusing on what the abusive relationship facebook and twitter have to spooks right here in the US.

    my advice is block facebook at the network ip block level, don't let one packet touch their filthy rotten servers.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What to do ...

    "Snitches get stitches"

  4. Anonymous Coward

    1st amendment....

    screws them every time. Undoubtedly it is illegal to obstruct police in carrying out their duties. However, I speculate that by freedom of speech laws his friend is entitled to comment on developing events. The same as if he'd posted it on a blog and Valdez had got the message from there. I wonder which will win out in the end?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ... you're the British government or one of its myriad agencies, you can (and almost certainly will) dismiss any freedoms, rights or dispensations you fancy at the drop of a hat, for no better reason than that the waft of power impresses that attractive 30-something from the spin department you've had your eye on. You'd sell us out twice as quickly if it was an attractive 30-something lobbyist from Facebook, phorm or Google bearing gifts.

      These days we have to rely on Brussels or Strasbourg to fight our corner, so we are truly fucked.

    2. LuMan


      Unfortunately, to a degree, you can. Walk into a public place and loudly exercise your right to free speech by yelling your choicest selection of swear words. You'll soon find yourself on the sharp end of a Public Order Offence. Likewise, try preaching Satanism in your local park (actually, I'd be more likely to listen to that than the usual evangelistic claptrap in our park!!).

      1. Bassey

        Re: AC "Unless you're the British Government"

        Since when did the Britain claim to support Freedom of speech? It never has. The British have always understood that problems can arrise from people being allowed to say what they wish (inciting racial or religious hatred. Supporting terrorism etc) so Freedom of speech has NEVER been supported in Britain.

      2. Tommy Pock


        When Karl Marx was in London he was astonished to see people preaching extreme views on street corners which would have resulted in instant arrest back in Russia.

        He was also bemused to note that the locals completely ignored them. That's how free speech works.

        I agree (below)that Great Britain never has had a constitutional right to free speech: but, due to the common sense we're rapidly losing, we haven't needed it.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You have your history a bit mixed up

          You are quoting a passage from a letter by one Vladimir Ilich Ulianov to my great grand dad.

          The same quote also appears in a few more letters from the same person during the same period (Circa 1902) to a few more people so depending on which source you are looking at the actual quote and addressee differs.

          Forgiven on first offense. On the next, a visit from the ghost of Koba may be in attendance.

          It is definitely not Marx though. Marx had no freaking interest in Russia at that time of his visits to London and noone in Russia had any interest in Marx either. Interest appeared several years after Marx kicked the bucket.

          * I had that posted as 2002, damn... should have been 1902

          1. Tommy Pock

            Point taken

            Apologies for that, I'm working from a memory which left school 24 years ago

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Of course it's "illegal".

      The question is, is it moral?

      Would you help Randy Weaver defend himself against the Fed Mob?

    4. Tegne

      Ban this sick filth now!

      Is this article crosslinked from the Daily Mail forums or something? Facebook was just used as some form of communication between friends, no matter how misguided. If the guy had used SMS messaging to send the same warnings would you be calling for all mobile phones to be banned as they have been clearly implicated in so much crime?

      1. Sir Cosmo Bonsor

        Re: Ban this sick filth now!

        No, you just got trolled is all.

    5. lpopman

      titular thingy

      Freedom of Speech does not give you immunity from the consequences of that speech.

    6. Lionel Baden

      1st amendment

      Would it protect him if he Shouted on a megaphone to his freind about what swat were doing.

      Essentially nothing different here.

      Public Shout, regarding police activities, but directed to the suspect.

      Should be treated the same way if he was shouting advice phoning advice etc etc etc ....

      The medium is not important in this case, as the facebooker clearly intended the news to be delivered to the suspect.

    7. puffspluslotion


      Snitches get Plea Bargains.

    8. Anonymous Coward

      Fail to see your logic

      1. How exactly can Plods ban facebook locally to a specific location? Does not compute.

      2. It is difficult to advocate "banning facebook" if the lack of a facebook profile triggers an automatic "this one has something to hide, do exta checks" routine. That is in fact the standard modus operandi of at least several background checking agencies in the UK. So, yeah, you can ban it (or refuse to have anything to do with it like me), but that is already proving to be something not in your favour. Good luck looking for your next job if you do not have a presentable F***book profile.

  5. M Gale

    “not sure yet how to deal with it."

    So what would happen if one of his "homies" was parked nearby with a CB radio?

    How is this different?

  6. Winkypop Silver badge

    Ogden, Utah

    Been there....

    An armed seige probably passes for entertainment there.

  7. Neoc


    And if the TV media had been there and "disclosed" the operations over the airwaves with the perp having a TV on... would the media be charged with anything? Or is it just the individual using a social network?

  8. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    “not sure yet how to deal with it"

    That's typical dick swinging talk for "the lawyers haven't gotten back to us yet".

  9. Anonymous Coward

    just my thoughts..

    .. if someone SMSed or phoned in that tip, would you charge that person? if yes, why is facebook any different?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ...seeing as the police will shoot passers by, intimidate people who record them ( and storm random houses killing the innocent occupant ( then I guess there will be no difference. They will apply whatever measures they see fit, regardless of the actual law.

      Of course, the UK police are no better (Charles de Mendez, harassment of photographers etc etc)

    2. Marvin the Martian
      Paris Hilton

      Yes, because it uses technology and stuff?

      [Text is needed: so... A mobile is an evolution of the phone -- which their gramps used so its OK. Similarly a CB their dad played with. This Facebook thingy (presumably on one of these Personal Calculator things) is newfangled bad stuff so confuses.]

  10. Dave 120

    1st amendment my a$$

    Aiding and abetting much?

    The only question is whether it's worth the effort to prosecute given it was all resolved safely.

  11. Geoff Campbell

    Stupid police.

    Surely the first thing to do in a siege is to cut off outside communication? Phone lines can be cut, and 3G/2G data channels can be jammed or disabled locally.

    But no, they didn't think about this, because they have guns. People with guns don't think, have you noticed?


    1. Ralthor

      Cut off communications?

      In a hostage situation the first thing to do is open communications and try to talk the suspect out peacefully.

      At least thats how is works in the movies. :D

    2. david 12 Silver badge

      A gun for protection

      I've also noticed (you milage may vary), that some young policemen expect that they can get sufficient co-operation just because they have a gun.

      They've never learned the art of old-style in-your-face intimidation that old-style policemen and prison officers do so well, even when unarmed and out of uniform.

      Unfortunately, a man with a gun is not automatically scary, and if a kid. comes at you with a knife, your only choice is to shoot him. Or not.

    3. Getter lvl70 Druid Silver badge

      Blanket statements.....

      I own several 'guns', yet I haven't killed anyone yet - have had them for years in fact yet I still think. I think about things all the time and have really noticed any interference. Odd, eh?

      Besides, with that attitude, you're fucked when the zombie apocalypse comes... yeah, didn't think about that one, did ya?


      1. CD001


        When the Zombie Apocalypse comes, I'll use an axe or a bow ... or both, but not at the same time. Less likely to suffer an ammo shortage at the critical moment with an axe ;)

        1. Getter lvl70 Druid Silver badge

          Zombie Apocalypse

          That's backup stuff - machetes are good too. Problem with your method is that you will have zombie mobs at first, thus the need for rapid fire weapons and lots of bullets. I'm set up to reload too... I have stuff like horse-pulled farm implements that can be pulled by an ATV until the gas runs out too...

          Ok maybe I think too much.

          Didn't think that post deserved an down-vote either, felt it was pretty light hearted in content. Just disagreed with the blanket statement, any blanket statement in fact. There are always exceptions big and small.

          1. Geoff Campbell


            I'm noticing lots of light-hearted or plain factual comments attract down-votes currently. Methinks some visitors are taking the whole thing rather too personally.


    4. Sir Cosmo Bonsor


      Simply for ending a sentence with "much?"

  12. John Savard Silver badge

    First Amendment?

    The First Amendment protects public discussion, not phoning someone who is robbing a bank to tell him the cops are on the way.

    Hostage-takers, in my opinion, are the lowest of the low - from people like this to Hamas, still holding Gilad Shalit hostage, or the Somalian pirates.

  13. Will's

    concern for his safety

    What so the police had to expend some effort in bringing this to a peaceful conclusion rather than shooting the guy in the head.

    Terminator icon for obvious reasons

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    The facebook message may have ended the siege

    Knowing there was at least one Police marksman outside may have contributed to the relatively peaceful end to the siege....

    If he thought there was only local cops outside he may have tried to shoot his way out but knowing there were concealed marksman possibly led to his decision not to fight.

    Good intelligence allows one to pick their battles. When outnumbered it is often better to surrender and live to escape/fight another day than go down in a blaze of glory....

  15. Heynonynonymous

    If it was your friend...

    ...wouldn't you want to warn them about someone in the bushes ready to shoot them?

    And yes, we'd all try and talk them out of it just like these people did.

    But think about it, what their friend actually did by 'obstructing justice' was to try to avoid someone they knew being shot. And once the police couldn't easily finish it by lethal force the crisis was negotiatied to a bloodless conclusion.

    1. Cunningly Linguistic

      Any friend of mine...

      ...taking an innocent hostage at gunpoint would be given up in a heartbeat. YMMV

  16. Killraven

    1st Amendment...

    ...does not apply.

    Freedom of Speech does not extend the right to endanger other people's lives, in this case the hostage in the room. Valdez's friends need to be prosecuted.

  17. TJ1

    Does this apply to live TV helicopter coverage too?

    The same argument being advanced by the police could be just as easily applied to the news channel live TV helicopter coverage often seen when incidents occur.

    If the 'perp' is watching TV then the same result occurs - he gets fed information about what's going on outside beyond his own vision.

    Sounds to me more like the police are just pissed off with his 'friends' and want to extract some 'revenge'.

  18. NogginTheNog


    The friend warned the hostage taker that he was in real danger of ending up in a body bag. Sounds like a fairly reasonable act for any friend to do. How this obstructed the police's work I'm not entirely sure, though if it ever goes to trial the lawyers will make plenty of coin arguing over it.

    1. Old Handle
      Thumb Up


      If the example cited in this article was as far as the "technical" advice went, I fail to see how that's aiding or abetting a crime, unless not getting shot in the head is considered a crime now.

      Of course if they were suggesting escape routes, offering to provide a distraction or something like that it would be totally different.

  19. Atonnis


    This is aiding and abetting a crime in progress?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, the police are miffed...

    that they couldn't chalk up another kill :(

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    When did this turn from 'Utah police not sure how/if to charge friend' into 'Utah police want to ban facebook'?

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