Social media bullying victim gets the attention of police

Posted at 5:47 PM, Aug 30, 2017

Tallmadge Police are now involved in the case of a disabled man who claimed someone is creating fake social media accounts with his likeness to torment others.

Jason Plants said the fake accounts first started popping up on Facebook and now they’re on Instagram. Whoever is behind it uses the accounts to make negative comments on other profiles - targeting minorities, gays and lesbians and others.

“It’s hurtful,” Plants said. "I mean, I can’t imagine what these other people are going through.”

Summit County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Margaret Scott said Ohio’s telecommunications harassment law covers this kind of cyber abuse, but victims have to show police some proof.

“Take screenshots, print things out. If there’s comments that are made. Do as much evidence collection as you can,” Scott said.

News 5 reached out to Tallmadge Police who now say they will meet with Plants and see if he has a case.

“The next step after that is, depending on the circumstances, subpoenas or possibly search warrants to find out whose accounts these are,” Tallmadge Police Chief Ronald Williams said.

Plants knows police may not be able to crack the case, but he said he’s grateful someone is listening.

“Hopefully put an end to some of this and hopefully take down these accounts,” Plants said.

Scott recommended anyone else dealing with online harassment first report the offensive accounts to the social media platform it’s on. Let them handle it first before turning to police.

She said sometimes, depending on the police department and resources available, officers may not be able to make a cyber harassment case like this a priority, especially if lives are not threatened.

She said victims can also reach out directly to their local prosecutor.