Police in East Liverpool, Ohio, pulled over an SUV they say was swerving in the road, found a driver and a passenger allegedly nodding off on heroin, with a 4-year-old sitting in the backseat, and decided to post photos of the three on the city's Facebook page.
According to police, the driver told them he was taking the woman in the car with him to the hopsital. The four-year-old in the backseat was the woman's child. The driver was charged with driving while intoxicating, stopping in a roadway, and endangering children, while the passenger was charged with not wearing a seatbelt, public intoxication, and endangering children.
Police claim they posted photos of the incident online to show "the other side" of heroin use. "We feel we need to be a voice for the children caught up in this horrible mess," the post read. "This child can't speak for himself but we are hopeful this story can convince another user to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody."
The explanation comes off as hypocritical given how uniformily police officers, their bosses, and their unions tend to fight the release of images and videos showing the "other side" of police brutality. They use excuses like the fact that an investigation is open, or that the cop or even his victim deserves the right to privacy. Yet no one at the East Liverpool police department apparently thought to think about the 4-year-old's right to privacy.
Eventually, a judge granted custody of the child to relatives in South Carolina. The city shared a screencap of a post from someone announcing the decision. In the screencap, the woman laments that there's not a "DELETE BUTTON For This 4 Year Olds Memory for The Past 3 Weeks and This Horrific Event That has Gone National News with His Little Face Exposed." The administrators of the city of East Liverpool's Facebook page either lack the self-awareness to understand their role in making the boy's face national news, or don't care. If heroin users had unions as powerful as cops, the photo may have never seen the light of day.