Woman Slapped With Felony For Posting Photo to Facebook
A Texas woman has been arrested and charged with a felony for posting a publicly available photo of an undercover police officer to her Facebook profile.
Melissa Walthall, according to reports, retaliated against the officer for his testimony in a drug case against her friend George Pickens.
But it wasn't Walthall who set the officer's unveiling in motion. Instead, Pickens found the photo and his brother, Bobby Stedham, according to a federal affidavit, made garage sale-style signs that identified the officer, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Stedham was also charged with retaliation.
It was a photo of one of those signs that Walthall posted, leading to her felony charge.
According to the affidavit, law enforcement learned of the Facebook post when a woman tipped off the Mesquite police yesterday (Oct. 14). The affidavit described the act as a “viable threat to that officer’s safety.”
The felony retaliation charge, however, may be baseless. According to the Texas Penal Code, retaliation occurs when "a person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly harms or threatens to harm another by an unlawful act."
If the photo was publicly viewable on the Internet, it may be difficult to prove that Walthall or Stedham broke any laws beyond copyright infringement — a civil offense — and that may even be a stretch, Pixiq pointed out.
Follow Ben on Twitter @benkwx.