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Senator: Law Punishing First Responders For Posting Graphic Images Online Is Coming

Case Of Caroline Wimmer, Recent Incidents Keep FDNY, EMS On The Hot Seat
Mark Musarella, Caroline Wimmer/SIlive.com

Mark Musarella, Caroline Wimmer/SIlive.com

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One picture may soon be worth a year in jail.

It’s happening more and more — first responders are posting graphic pictures of crime scene victims and medical patients on the Internet.

And now there’s legislation that could have them prosecuted as criminals, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Monday.

When Marti Wimmer’s daughter, Caroline, was strangled with a hair dryer cord, an emergency medical technician posted the shocking crime scene photo on Facebook.

“To this day if I got my hands on him I would kill him,” Wimmer said. “He destroyed me.”

That was four years ago and EMTs are still doing it, posting graphic pictures like these in the New York Post, exploiting victims’ suffering.

Wimmer said it has got to end.

“I would beg them and I would beg not to do this to anybody, nobody. They have no idea the hurt, the feelings you feel every day knowing that your child or loved ones picture is on Facebook,” Wimmer said.

Staten Island Sen. Diane Savino told CBS 2’ Kramer she intends to punish those who exploit patients and victims.

“It’s outrageous behavior,” Sen. Savino said.

Savino wants first responders — not only EMTs but cops and firefighters, too — to go to jail it they take pictures for personal enjoyment.

While the NYPD has a new social media policy, the FDNY, which includes EMS, has been dragging its feet. It still hasn’t changed its policy since the Caroline Wimmer incident

An FDNY spokesman said the policy is being amended and that once it is firefighters and medics can face disciplinary charges if they “disclose content … (a) written statement, photograph or recording… That is protected from disclosure by laws, rules or regulations.”

“Updating your social media policy in the department are not enough, apparently we need to send a stronger message to our public servants that this is a crime,” Sen. Savino said.

The FDNY said it’s unclear when the policy changes will be adopted because, among other things, the unions have a say.

Meanwhile, Robert Ungar, a spokesman for the two EMS unions said, “We don’t believe it right to post pictures of a patient online.”

The unions said they will not oppose the bill to sentence the mockers and the gawkers in its ranks to jail.

Last week, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly ordered cops not to embarrass the department on social media or to reveal that they are members of the NYPD online.

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