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Most everyone has heard a story about someone making incriminating posts on social media. A story like that of Dustin Rittgers, who last December posted a Facebook video of himself driving drunk and was eventually arrested while still on the road in Franklin County. But the growing use of live streaming apps like Periscope have taken these kinds of incidents far beyond the posting of videos or texts. Now we are seeing more and more incidents involving the live streaming of criminal acts, and already this year Columbus has seen two such incidents gain national attention.
Earlier in May, two men were arrested in Columbus after live streaming threats to shoot up their own neighborhood. Yusuf Suliman Conteh and Damon Andrew Rosmond were using Periscope and threatened to go out shooting in their neighborhood with an AR-15 rifle if they got 100 views. The live stream also captured the two men handing a loaded gun to a toddler. Someone watching the live stream from another state notified police and both men were later arrested. They’ve been charged with a list of crimes that includes improperly furnishing firearms to a minor, endangering children, and inducing panic.
But it was an incident in Columbus earlier this year that has started a national conversation about live streaming crimes. In February, Marina Lonina and a 17-year-old friend met up with Raymond Gates at Gates’s home in Columbus. While there, Gates sexually assaulted the 17-year-old friend and Lonina used Periscope to live stream the assault for 10 minutes. Lonina claims that she was using Periscope to provide evidence of the assault.
However, the prosecutor felt that Lonina got caught up by the likes she was getting during the Periscope stream and then did nothing to help the victim. Lonina has been charged as an accomplice and is facing the same charges as Gates, including kidnapping, rape and sexual battery. As the Franklin County prosecutor expressed when discussing the Lonina case, “Technology has moved us into an area that is sometimes beyond belief.”
As live streaming increases, the number of criminal acts captured on those streams will also increase. If you find yourself charged with crimes because of what has been captured during your live stream, you are in a difficult legal situation because there is video evidence of the crime as it happened. You will need an experienced criminal defense attorney who has the ability to defend you in an area of law that is still developing.
The Ohio criminal defense lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates have years of experience handling a wide range of criminal matters and reaching the best possible outcomes for our clients. Call us today at for a free and confidential consultation.