Police snafu leads to apology

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BOUNTIFUL, Utah (ABC 4)
 
A string of mistakes.
A pair of women, falsely accused.
And a nightmare for both of them, as it all plays out on social media.
The snafus started Thursday, December 20, 2018, when managers at the Smith’s Marketplace in Bountiful sent security camera pictures of two women to Bountiful police detectives. The picture was a freeze frame, recorded November 15. The women were supposed to be suspects in a high-dollar credit card scam.

Bountiful police posted the pictures on the department’s Facebook page, asking citizens for information that would lead to an arrest. Within minutes, a Utah television station posted the picture and the call for information on its website. And almost immediately, site visitors began bashing the two women in the picture.

“Lock them up,” said one.

“Get a job!” said another.

“These people need to be found, publicly humiliated, then forced to pay restitution, while being in prison,” wrote another.

“I got a phone call letting me know, we’re on Bountiful PD’s Facebook as suspects,” Suzie Solden told ABC4.com.

Suzie and her co-worker, Candice Moore, say they had gone to the Smith’s store last November to buy a supply of holiday cards for their company’s clients. They used the company credit card, paid the $2,000.00 tab, and walked out.

More than a month later, their picture was posted on at least two TV station websites. Bountiful P.D. immediately removed the erroneous Facebook post. ABC4.com was called and alerted to the mistake. The post was immediately removed from the website. Another station, however, did not remove the post.

“When I first called,” Solden said, “I was told I needed to have the Bountiful Police Department call them.”

She and Moore said the post stayed on the station website for about twelve hours. And the insulting comments continued.

“Most of them were going after our physical appearance,” said Moore. “They were saying we were like scum, slobs, fat”

Solden told ABC4.com, “To sit behind a keyboard and just belittle someone – I don’t see what they’re gaining from that.”

The Bountiful police chief visited the women at their office today, and personally apologized. He told them the department has used its Facebook page successfully for a long time, capturing eighty criminals by using the tool to communicate with citizens. The TV station changed it’s post, removing the picture of the women, and reporting the Bountiful P.D. apology. The women say they’ve received no apology from the station, or the Smith’s store managers.

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