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Texas woman charged with felony for posting police officer’s photo on Facebook

RT News  When a Texas woman discovered the true identity of a local undercover cop, she outted the officer by posting a photograph of the man on Facebook. Now she’s awaiting trial for a felony charge after authorities arrested her on a count of retaliation.

Melissa Walthall, 30, tells police in Mesquite, Texas that she first saw a photograph of a man revealed to be an undercover officer after a friend of hers drafted up a poster he intended on plastering around town. She acquired a copy of the image, uploaded it to her Facebook and captioned it with the warning: “Undercover Mesquite Narcotics . . . Anyone know this bitch?”

A Facebook friend of Walthall’s became suspicious of the post and alerted the authorities, who in turn opened up an investigation into the woman to determine how she may have become familiar with the true identity of the undercover Narc. Before long, police became aware of another friend of Walthall, 34-year-old George Pickens, who was able to clue them in a bit further.

According to Pickens, he and his brother Bobby Stedham, 26, found a Facebook page for the police officer and used a photo from the account to make posters that they intended to display “like garage sale signs,” an affidavit acquired by ABC News suggests.

As it turns out, the officer had testified only weeks earlier in a drug case that targeted Pickens and now the two brothers were determined to blow the cop’s cover. For helping out by hoping to ID him on Facebook, however, Walthall was picked up by the police and charged with retaliation, a felony, because investigators had determined that her post constituted a “viable threat to that officer’s safety,”

In Texas, the state penal code mandates that a person is guilty of retaliation after committing an offense that “intentionally or knowingly harms or threatens to harm another by an unlawful act.” reporter Carlos Miller notes, however, that it might pose a challenge in a court of law if and when the cop in question admits that the photo was made available to anyone online, essentially leaving Walthall with being guilty of nothing more than distributing something from the public domain.

Stedham has also been hit with retaliation charges, and his brother is being brought to trial for federal drugs and weapons charges because an investigation of his home turned up a sawed-off shotgun and 28 grams of methamphetamines.

Mitch Landry, the deputy executive director of the Texas Municipal Police Association in Austin, tells CBS News, “Our best advice is — if you don’t want that information out there, don’t have those accounts.”

Now another warning could be in order for civilians, though, for apparently uploading an unauthorized photo on Facebook can cause more than just copyright infringement issues. In Walthall’s case, she stands to serve years behind bars if found guilty.

Texas Municipal Police Association Executive Director Kevin Lawrence adds to ABC that any publishing of private information can have drastic consequences for undercover officers.

“It’s a very dangerous situation,” Lawrence says. “If you’re trying to infiltrate a cartel, a drug ring, a gang, one of the keys is people have to believe you’re not an officer. Anything that hints at tying you to law enforcement is very dangerous.”

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13 Responses to Texas woman charged with felony for posting police officer’s photo on Facebook

  1. diggerdan says:

    That cops mug was already posted on facebook – they should leave Walthall alone. Them cops always say how dangerous their job is so what is the problem with the cops – they like to walk around wearing their costumes. They should be used to watching their backs anyway – they got their pig buddies to help out with that problem. I kind of wonder just how many drugs that cop used or sold – after all there are a lot of drugs they conficate that end up on the street again that are sold by the cops – and then busted the people that bought from the cops. I think that every cop and agent should have their face and position exposed – after all they are proud of their job choice aren`t they?

  2. Jolly Roger says:

    It doesn’t matter to them if the photo was already published. They’re going to make an example out of her to try and prevent millions of others from doing the same thing.

    Serves her right for being on Facebook. You may as well be holding all your private conversations in an FBI office. I guess she’s one of those unfortunates who has to learn everything the hard way.

    • BentSpear says:

      You’re right about FakeBook….anyone who uses that is under scrutiny of the Alphabet agencies. With all the AltNet news stories about how it is infested with law enforcement geeks, predators & scumbags, you’d figure people would learn. But then again, lots of clueless people voted for Obummer. Go figure.

  3. Thebes says:

    The US Constitution doesn’t list this “exception” to the Freedoms of Speech and The Press.
    If they’re really “pubic servants” what are they so afraid of anyway?

  4. US Marine Fighting Tyranny says:

    My Fellow Americans:

    She wasn’t punished for publishing a photo,….

    She was published for stupidity.

    Putting anything on CIA-Book is just plain dumb.

    Had she really wanted to alert people, all she needed to do was make up a few hundred fliers, wrapped in saran wrap or the self-stick clear plastic they sell by the roll,.. and plaster those all over town,.. maybe with the help of a few friends,.. it would take no longer than an hour or two.

    Granted, just posting on CIA-Book is easier,.. but that just allows our criminal and abusive gov’t to find you in a click,.. whereas some “anonymous” posters can’t be traced (unless you get caught stapling the things up!).

    Just a thought on how to alert your local area to traitors in our midst, while not exposing your ID.

    JD – US Marines – We are inching closer and closer to all out tyranny,.. or all out civil war. Which one will you choose?

  5. NC says:

    “It’s a very dangerous situation,” Lawrence says. “If you’re trying to infiltrate a cartel, a drug ring, a gang, one of the keys is people have to believe you’re not an officer. Anything that hints at tying you to law enforcement is very dangerous.”

    Hey Lawrence, if the cop was undercover and his cover was blown, then it is most definitely NOT the lady’s problem that your officer is so stupid that he blows his own cover. If normal people can see right through his cover, then obviously the criminals would be able to, as well. It’s no one’s fault, but the officer’s and his lack of training. Don’t blame others because the officer did not do his homework and prepare well for his undercover police work. I mean, come on man…Blaming others for the officer’s incompetence? Really? That’s so high school. Grow up.

    • NC says:

      I remember when officers who were incompetent or couldn’t do the job would get fired or they would send them away under protection until the operation was over. Now they just send the person who ratted them out to prison and treat her as a criminal. So much for serving and protecting. Why couldn’t they just put her in protective custody or something until the operation was over. These cops really have no idea how to police anymore. Undercover agents with grade school education. Yea, I’m sure they will get the job done. NOT!

  6. BJ says:

    The cops don’t have a case because the picture was in the public domain!
    They will attempt to pressure her to plead guilty to something lesser but if she holds strong NO JURY will convict! Cops are just pissed and thowing a hissy fit as it is easy for them to charge but impossible to convict!

    • NC says:

      You mean we still have trials by jury? When did this happen? lol

      I think the cops will make a deal with the judge and never let a jury come in. That’s usually what they do nowadays, right?

  7. # 1 NWO Hatr says:

    She does look kind of spun though. I’m surprised they didn’t drug test her. Also surprised they didn’t just plant drugs on her. That seems to be SOP these days.

    Probably could have made those charges stick.

    • diggerdan says:

      She does look kind of buzzed up, maybe they are trying to make a deal with her to snitch on some one you know! We Know how they work ,

  8. steve nagele says:

    if she has enough money to hire a good lawyer, she walks. if she’s poor and uses a public defender, she’s gonna do time.

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