Don't do the crime and post it online if you can't do added time

Posted May 23, 2017 6:11 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 1:45 p.m. EDT

— Social media creates a whole new world to share, and sometimes those things include violent crimes.

A Cleveland man livestreamed on Facebook as he shot and killed an innocent stranger walking down the street.

Teens in Chicago did likewise as they raped a girl.

A news crew was shot dead on live TV in Virginia, and the killer then posted the crime from his angle on social media.

"I think that's just despicable," North Carolina Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Scotland, said Tuesday. "I don't want people, particularly young people, to think this is glamorous and something they should be doing, and it's something exciting to do. It's not exciting. It's hurtful."

Pierce is sponsoring House Bill 918, which would add up to two years in prison to the sentences of people who commit heinous crimes and post videos of their acts online.

"I think it's time to send a message," he said.

The measure drew very little debate and no opposition in the House Judiciary II Committee.

Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, wanted clarification about bystanders who happen to capture a crime on video and upload it.

"This bill applies to the person who committed the crime who's putting it on," said Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, another bill sponsor.

Not all violent crimes would be included. For example, the recent case of a Cumberland County service dog that was shot and the video posted on social media wouldn't qualify for a longer sentence because animal cruelty is a lower level felony.

The measure next goes to the House Appropriations Committee because it requests funding for a prosecutor to help with cases covered by the proposal.