ATTORNEY: Those With Limited Mobility And Cognitive Issues Can’t Access Police Information Posted To Facebook.
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — The Boca Raton Police Department may find itself on the receiving end of an ADA, or Americans with Disabilities lawsuit.
BocaNewsNow.com has been reporting on the agency’s sole use of Facebook to share crime information with the general public. While all other South Florida law enforcement agencies post material to official city government websites, and email information to anyone who signs up for email blasts, the City of Boca Raton Police Department forces those seeking public information to utilize Facebook — subjecting users to Facebook’s tracking and advertising when they seek official information.
Attorneys following our reporting say this isn’t just an information release issue. This is potentially a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The ADA requires government agencies to provide all services in an accessible way. Requiring users to utilize Facebook potentially violates that requirement.
“We’re not ready to file suit yet,” said an attorney who asked not to be named at this time, “but we are gathering information. It sure seems that the City of Boca Raton is making an unforced error here either through laziness, complacency, or both. Our goal is for the City to fix the problem now. If it doesn’t, we’ll do what we need to do.”
According to the attorney, those with limited mobility or cognitive ability are challenged utilizing Facebook to obtain information, and to determine what is real and what might be considered “fake news.”
“If it’s on an official city website, the assumption is that it’s true,” said the attorney. “If it’s on Facebook, you just never know.”
Inexplicably, as BocaNewsNow.com has reported multiple times, the City of Boca Raton is using a Facebook widget — on its official police website — to share information about crime. The Facebook widget is apparently problematic enough that Apple’s Safari browser prevents it from appearing.
BocaNewsNow.com reported days ago about the racist and anti-Semitic comments added to the Boca Raton Police Department’s Facebook page that were permitted to remain for weeks. Because the City of Boca Raton is using a Facebook widget on its “official” website, those racist and anti-Semitic comments also appeared on the City’s website for those able to see the feed.
Neither Assistant City Manager Chrissy Gibson nor Deputy City Manager Michael Woika responded to a request for comment Friday afternoon.
UPDATE: 5:35 p.m: Gibson, through an email, stated “be patient.”
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