Renton Police Department investigating possible cyberstalking of three police employees; view the videos (warning)
By DEAN RADFORD
Renton Reporter Editor
August 5, 2011 · Updated 5:05 PM
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Renton Police Department has released the nine videos that are considered evidence in its investigation of cyberstalking that targets three Police Department employees. The creator of the videos, who is unknown and is the subject of the investigation, covers a number of topics in the videos. Only the content of some of the videos is considered related to the specific charge of cyberstalking.WARNING: Some of these videos contain graphic material, including descriptions of lewd conduct and obscene language. There are no graphic images.
As part of a cyberstalking investigation, the Renton Police Department is considering the possibility that a department employee or someone close to the department posted nine videos on YouTube.
The videos were posted in April in an attempt to "embarrass and emotionally torment" three employees of the Police Department, according to an affidavit filed to obtain a search warrant used in the investigation.
Police Chief Kevin Milosevich briefed the media on the investigation Thursday afternoon in front of Renton City Hall.
He indicated investigators don't know if more than one person was involved in posting the videos.
Earlier this year a department employee was demoted in a similar incident.
The story was originally reported by KIRO TV, which posted two of the nine videos. The Police Department was releasing the other seven videos Thursday evening, which Milosevich said more clearly reveal why the city is investigating the videos as a crime.
"The videos currently posted by a local media outlet are a very mild representation of the entirety of the contents," Milosevich said. "The videos that are the basis of the criminal investigation are being released this afternoon."
The Renton Reporter will post those videos when technically possible.
Milosevich initially read a prepared statement in which he said he would not discuss the details of the investigation. He said the department presented the facts in the case of cyberstalking to prosecutors.
The facts, he said, "met the definition of a crime."
Milosevich had been asked whether the video parodies were constitutionally protected free speech.
Under state law, a person "is guilty of cyberstalking if he or she, with intent to harass, intimidate, torment, or embarrass any other person, makes an electronic communication to such other person or a third party, using any lewd, lascivious, indecent, or obscene words, images, or language or suggesting the commission of any lewd or lascivious act."
Cyberstalking is misdemeanor, although there are specific requirements that could result in a felony charge.
According to the affidavit for the search warrant, Milosevich discovered the videos online on April 16 but they were removed on April 20.
"It was reported that the eight videos discussed topics, such as sexual relationships, sexual orientation, internal investigations, and negative working relationships within an unnamed Police Department," according to the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, three Police Department employees came forward to say they were targeted in the videos by "embarrassing and emotionally tormenting comments" regarding past sexual or dating relationships.
The videos also refer the SCORE, or the regional jail known formally as South Correctional Facility. Renton is a partner in that jail with other South King County cities.
A search warrant was issued in July seeking information from Google Legal Investigations Support, based in Mountain View, Calif.
Investigators are for information about subscribers, e-mails, IP addresses user names and credit-card use. The videos were posted under the user names, Mrfuddlesticks, whothehellispenny and tellinthetruth.
On July 26 Google Inc. provided the Renton Police Department information about the user account named Mrfuddlesticks, including an IP address. That user had signed up for the YouTube account on April 12.Contact Renton Reporter Editor Dean Radford at email@example.com or 1-425-255-3484 (ext 5050).