Texas Woman Jailed for Outing Narc on Facebook

In a case that would appear to raise First Amendment questions, a Mesquite, Texas, woman has been arrested and charged with a felony after she allegedly posted a photograph of an undercover narcotics officer on Facebook and identified him as a narc. Melissa Walthall, 30, was charged with felony retaliation after Mesquite police deemed her post "a viable threat to the officer's safety."

Do citizens have the right to identify police officers? (earthisland.org)
The photo was copied from the officer's own Facebook page.

Walthall got into trouble after an acquaintance of hers went to the Mesquite Police and told them a photograph of a man labeled "Undercover Mesquite Narcotics" had appeared on her newsfeed. "Anyone know this bitch?" asked the caption below the photo.

Walthall reportedly told police she had seen the photo on a flyer several weeks earlier and had posted it on Facebook because a friend of hers was unhappy with the narc's testimony in a drug trial. Walthall refused to snitch out her friend, but a police computer search led them to a George Pickens.

Pickens told police he and his brother, Bobby Stedham, had begun researching the narc online and found his Facebook page and photograph, then used the photo to make flyers with the intent to display them locally "like garage sale signs."

Stedham now also faces a felony retaliation charge, while Pickens was hit with drugs and weapons charges after police found an ounce of meth and a sawed-off shotgun at his residence.

Law enforcement spokesmen defended the arrests.

"It's a very dangerous situation," said Kevin Lawrence, executive director of the Texas Municipal Police Association. "If you're trying to infiltrate a cartel, a drug ring, a gang, one of the keys is people have to believe you're not an officer. Anything that hints at tying you to law enforcement is very dangerous," he said.

Walthill and Stedham's flyers and Facebook posts did not call for retaliation against the narc, but merely identified him, raising interesting First Amendment questions. It will be interesting to see if they fight the charges, and if they get any help from civil libertarians.

Mesquite, TX
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Appeal

They'll be found guilty by the backwater Texas court, of course, but they should just appeal it straight up to the Supreme Court.

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Idiot outs himself. Narc posts own photo on net.

Then why on Earth did this idiot officer have his face on face book?

What a moron.

That crooked cop gave himself

That crooked cop gave himself up by posting on FB.If that cop is that stupid they should terminate his employment with the law enforcment division hes serving in.

The next Berlin Wall is coming for you cop.

How fortunate the drug war is about to end. 

We will put the cops in jail and the prison guards won't be out of work.

Photo's don't put lives at

Photo's don't put lives at risk, illegal laws do. Drug possession is a victimless "offense", drug raids, busts, SWAT, asset forfeiture, high speed chases all create victims, harm innocent people, and kill unarmed citizens, and legalize theft. If this cop didn't know the job was dangerous when he took it, oh well.

           I really don;t

           I really don;t care to much about this person because I dont know her, however. I do care about her rights. I for one will be happy to donate to a toward an attorney for her.

What a moron.

Why on Earth did this idiot officer have his face on face book?

LEAP_Speaker's picture

Shouldn't the Officer be Charged Too

If the officer identified himself on his own Facebook page, and posted the same photo,

then didn't he endanger himself and other officers?

Give Her A Medal

I can't say much that has not already been said except that, more often than not, it is the police that shoots unarmed people and not the other way around, unless you live in Mexico.

This cop is paid by taxpayers to be a liar. The Devil Loves Liars.

This cop chose to associate with people who wanted to use drugs. These people did not chose to have a liar come among them, a liar that wants to destroy their lives and that of their families. 

 

I personally think the woman was performing a brave act of community service and deserves a medal.  She may have saved a life, or two.

I have always wondered what kind of sick wacko would take a job like this. The answer is now more obvious.  He is Stupid, because he is posting pictures on FB.

He is Delusional, if he thinks someone would not google/research him.

He is Paranoid, if he thinks a post of his picture endangers him more than the job he chose.

A Stupid Delusional Paranoid Cop with a Gun is dangerous to himself and to others. Put him in the Psych Ward.

Under the thinking of the police, He needs to arrest Himself, because he is a threat to himself, because he chose to be a low-life-liar.

This is the saddest case

This is the saddest case going right now. MaryJ.

Stedham now also faces a

Stedham now also faces a felony retaliation charge, while Pickens was hit with drugs and weapons charges after police found an ounce of meth and a sawed-off shotgun at his residence.

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