WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) — An online publication is now allowing its users to view who has been arrested in West Hollywood including names, ages and the crime they — for alleged crimes from misdemeanors to felonies.
Some in the tight-knit community said they are upset and called this nothing more than public shaming, but the man behind WEHOville said residents have the right to know.
“WEHOville is committed to publishing the facts about life in West Hollywood, without fear or favor,” publisher Hank Scott said in a statement. “Those facts have included the felony convictions of a recent city commissioner and revelations of lawsuits against various people who have run for City Council.”
Crimes posted range from rape to driving with a suspended license. And while legal analyst Steve Meister said what Scott is doing is legal, he said it was not justifiable.
“Lawful, but awful,” Meister said. “For a little, basically harmless, victimless misdemeanor, why do you have to go trashing somebody online about it, because that’s all that’s going to happen to them.”
Darin Weeks, the editor of a competing online publication, WeHo Daily, called the arrest posts public shaming in a city he said had already dealt with public scrutiny.
“As soon as your name is on the internet, it’s there forever basically,” Weeks said. “And a potential employer might see it, or somebody you might be interested in dating might google your name and see it. But you’ve immediately been sentenced without being convicted of the crime.”
Scott said he was using an arrest reporting service made available through a membership with the California Newspaper Publishers Association, and he said he has no plans to stop running the list of arrests.