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Fugitive Says He'll Surrender for 15K Likes on Facebook

Jose Simms promises he'll abide by deal with cops
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 23, 2019 2:06 AM CDT
The wanted poster.   (Torrington Police)
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(Newser) – A Connecticut police department has reached a deal with a fugitive that would have him surrender if enough people respond to a wanted poster on social media, an agreement that at least one expert calls unethical. Jose Simms, 29, who is believed to be somewhere in New York, has seven arrest warrants and is being sought as a fugitive after failing to appear in court on charges that range from breach of peace to risk of injury to a child, the AP reports. Torrington police Lt. Brett Johnson posted on the department's Facebook page Wednesday that Sims had contacted him through the social media site and agreed to turn himself in if the post containing his poster gets 15,000 likes. Johnson said he negotiated Simms down from 20,000 likes. "It will be difficult but is doable," Johnson wrote.

Johnson also suggested that if anyone knows where Simms is hiding, they could let police know and save the department some suspense. But Maki Haberfeld, an expert in police ethics and procedure at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says Simms is using social media to manipulate both the news media and police, who she said have no business negotiating a deal with a suspect, never mind one that involves likes on Facebook. "It turns this into a joke," she says. Simms, contacted by the AP through Facebook, said he is prepared to live up to his end of the agreement, insisting he is a "man of my word." As of early Tuesday, the post had around 20,000 likes, though police said Simms hadn't turned himself in yet.

(Read more Facebook stories.)

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