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"I was sitting in my house and watching ‘The Purge,' and I thought of the tweet and picture that started it.
are investigating a teenager accused of starting a “Purge” rumor in the city, a copycat of the eponymous movie in which everyone in the country is allowed to commit any crime for 12 hours with impunity.
WAVE3 — who was guilty of the most fearmongering report, including gratuitous footage of Louisville’s March 27 violence downtown — has another party to blame: the media consumer. He tracked the tweets and posts since Tuesday and says social media can be a vessel for posts like these because of how easy it is to share information whether it’s true or not.
So how did a post from a high school kid create a Facebook frenzy? The recent bout of teen violence in the city didn’t help either.
In a Purge autopsy in The Courier-Journal on Saturday, the LMPD, Mayor Greg Fischer’s office and Jefferson County Public Schools all wagged their finger at the student.
Fischer spokesman Chris Poynter said the lesson to be learned is that “people really need to be careful about what they say on social media.” LMPD spokesman Dwight Mitchell noted, “There is a thing called Freedom of Speech, but with that comes a responsibility.” JCPS spokesman Ben Jackey said they’ll continue to speak with students about “being responsible digital citizens” and the “dangers of social media and the permanence of postings.” The Iroquois student, who was kicked off his football team for creating the image, certainly regrets his action, but laying the blame entirely at his feet is disingenuous, if not self-serving.
“Don’t assume that what you see on TV, what you see on the internet especially is always true, go do some homework,” he said. Granted, LMPD was only responding to their questions about how afraid everyone should be, but there is some validity to this point.But in the context of the whirlwind of fear over the supposed “Purge,” why not at least tell the public the original posting was a harmless joke and not a coordinated call for violence?Insider Louisville asked this question of LMPD spokesman Mitchell, who answered that this information was not relevant to the public since other people were making more specific threats on social media.“We felt at the time that even though his post was the original post, we had more concentrated effort on the other posts that he had nothing to do with, on Instagram and other forms of social media, and we still took those as credible threats and we were prepared to deal with them,” said Mitchell. We didn’t know that the whole thing was going to be a hoax based on the other information that we were getting.” Mitchell told Insider he did not know the exact number of specific threats, but there were “several.” Asked whether informing the public that the original image was the joke of a child would have lessened the fear, panic and pranks on Friday night, Mitchell said that with “the information we had, it was prudent for us as a police department to take everything into account.Not just his original posting, but the fact that there were other postings that we had no idea where they were coming from, and we’re still investigating to this day.” With “several” threats still being investigated, perhaps we should continue to stay vigilant and be on the lookout for suspicious activity.
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The person told reporters on Friday that the message was meant to be a joke and has apologized for it."I didn't think it would really get that serious until it actually did," the teen was quoted as telling reporters, according to Louisville's NBC TV affiliate, . Meanwhile, a high school football scrimmage that was set to take place in Louisville was postponed due to safety concerns, the newspaper reported.