BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – A new law increases the punishment for someone posting a video of violent crimes on social media. House Bill 395 was created to tackle the growing trend of people posting videos showing others being hurt or even killed. Now the punishment will be drastically increased for those who decide to upload.
Representative Tony Romero, a Jennings Republican, pointed to a case in Lake Charles where a 13-year old girl was charged with murder after broadcasting an attack on a 15-year old on Facebook.
“It touched a nerve with me and we continue to see constant violent postings by people on social media and I just felt like it needed to be addressed,” Rep. Romero said.
There is already a law on the books for posting material like this; the fine is $500 and up to six months in jail. The new law makes the punishment a $2,000 fine or up to eight years in prison for posting content that results in bodily harm or death. Rep. Romero said his goal is not to throw more people in jail, but for more people to think twice before uploading those kinds of videos.
“To somebody who is taking a video, which is not illegal, you can certainly continue to do that if you choose to, but it’s the posting of it,” Rep. Romero said.
He also said more and more people are posting their crimes online for attention and gratification. He gained the support of the district attorneys because they believe it can help them in their interrogations for these cases.
“What I want to do is make somebody think… have a very thoughtful process before they put that on the social media page or any kind of social media because you’re putting out there information that maybe will spawn further violence,” Rep. Romero said.
There was little opposition to the bill through the legislative process. The main changes were the severity of the punishments. It passed unanimously in the House and Senate. Governor John Bel Edwards signed the bill last week and the new punishments will go into effect starting Aug. 1.