Tuesday, May 21

St. Lucie County sheriff’s social media posts receiving national attention

In March, St. Lucie County Sheriff Keith Pearson posted a picture with WPTV Investigative Reporter Dave Bohman at a charity function.

At that event Bohman asked Pearson for an interview about the criticism of his social media posts, and he said, “No, I am only going to talk about the positive.”

The sheriff’s posts are getting national attention. The digital media site Barstool Sports labeled one of the sheriff’s video a “post-arrest recap video.”

The Miami New Times, referred to Pearson as the “TikTok Cop” asking, “Is St. Lucie Sheriff doing public service or self-promotion?”

WPTV continues to try to reach the sheriff by phone, text, and email, to no avail to find out why the sheriff is posting on TikTok.

The federal government claims China uses that platform to collect data on Americans.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who appointed Pearson as sheriff last year, signed into law a ban on TikTok on state government devices.

While that ban does not apply to law enforcement accounts, five of the area’s seven largest police agencies are not on TikTok.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is the other agency that does. That sheriff’s office spokesperson told WPTV despite the TikTok ban on state government devices, the platform is effective in reaching reach younger constituents.

Bohman wanted to know why the St. Lucie County sheriff is using TikTok, when the state has a limited ban and the federal government warns China can use it to collect personal information.

However, WPTV couldn’t reach Pearson. News Channel 5 also wanted to know if these social media posts could potentially jeopardize the criminal cases of suspects.

So, Bohman showed a post to veteran West Palm Beach defense attorney Gregg Lerman.

“I don’t know if you can ask for a dismissal. I don’t think it rises to the level of due process to use the technical term, Lerman said. You still have to treat people respectfully if you’re law enforcement.”

A newspaper reporter attempted to ask Pearson about those social media posts at a March 25 news conference.

The sheriff took no more questions and walked out.

WPTV will continue to press Pearson on his use of suspects in his posts.

The sheriff said most of the feedback on his social media accounts is supportive.

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