LOS ANGELES (CBS) — On Twitter, Sal LaBarbera is a popular LA detective known as LA Murder Cop. But a tweet he recently sent to his 3,265 followers — showing a bloody crime scene — has some questioning if it’s appropriate to show something so graphic on social media.
LaBarbera is an LAPD Detective Supervisor out of the South Bureau Division. He’s been working the criminal gang homicide division for 26 years.
He joined Twitter one year ago. He often tweets about his passions: food and sports. But until now, no one has cared much about his love of baseball or pasta. LaBarbera also often tweets about the crime scenes he’s called to. And the passion for his job is now giving him a lot of attention all over the net.
The photo he tweeted — showing the bloody body of a murdered male covered by a sheet — went viral. One blogger, in particular, took issue with the tweet becoming popular and his blog about it also went viral.
That blogger — Erick Huerta, a 27-year-old Boyle Heights resident — writes about his neighborhood, restaurants, things of that nature. He’s all for reality, but thought the pic crossed a line. “When officers start doing this, it is like becoming numb and lax. I understand it’s not an easy job, but [they] have to keep up professionalism.”
LaBarbera would not talk on camera with KCAL9’s Suraya Fadel, but he did tell her by phone that he’s always tweeted about similar crime scenes to raise awareness about gang violence in the South LA community he serves.
He says the bloody crime scene photo was “work related.” He does not believe he did anything wrong and he has no regrets in tweeting the photo.
LAPD would not comment about the photo to Fadel. They did tell her there is an internal investigation underway and there is no department policy set pertaining to employees using social media.
In hindsight, the detective told Fadel he might have one regret. He said, he hoped the message he has been trying to get out regarding gang violence would not be lost in the controversy of a single photo.