The overwhelming response: No!
We asked the question after we were approached by multiple “reputation” services — some legit, some questionable — wanting to initiate deals in which they would charge arrestees to have their mugshot removed from BocaNewsNow. Many of these firms do a brisk business charging folks hundreds of dollars to have mugshots removed from websites solely designed to publish mugshots so money can be extracted for their removal.
We haven’t — and won’t — play that game.
One of the firms that reached out to us this week actually threatened to build a website to damage the reputation of the team behind BocaNewsNow.com. We’ve spoken with law enforcement and say bring it on.
We will not be blackmailed to remove public records from a news website.
We also are going on record as saying we support a proposed bill by Senator Darren Soto of Central Florida that prohibits websites from charging for a mugshot’s removal. We expect the bill will be rewritten several times from its current form, but the intent is admirable. News is news. Blackmail is blackmail. The two shouldn’t be intertwined.
As one reader wrote, “if you don’t want your mugshot posted, don’t break the law.” We agree with the sentiment. But unlike print publications, we have the ability to resolve mistakes. If your mugshot is posted and the charges are dropped or the entire event expunged by a judge, just drop us a note and your mugshot will go away.
But if we report your arrest and the charges aren’t dropped, don’t bother asking if you can pay to have the report removed.
That’s why BocaNewsNow.com is — and will continue to be — the leading source for news in South Palm Beach County.