Chief Walker: Social Media Post Regarding Issue with Human Trafficking of Children in City Not True

By Jeff Toquinto on March 12, 2018 via

Earlier today, Chief John Walker said Bridgeport Police Department Deputy Chief Randy Hartley was contacted about a social media post that doesn’t appear to have any merit to it. However, in a press release recently sent out he did say it’s causing concern.
“It has come to our attention that a social media post is circulating causing wide spread concern for the safety of our community.  This post refers to an individual speaking to law enforcement officials regarding human trafficking from the ages of 4 and up and being told that the situation is out of control and not to allow your children to visit the mall or theater alone.”
Walker said the post, which appears to have been removed from a Facebook account, is not credible. He added that the Bridgeport Police, the Clarksburg Police and the FBI were all aware of the situation with the post or would soon be.
“One of the worst parts is that they say they have talked to us, Clarksburg (Police) and the FBI, which makes it appear credible,” said Walker. “They haven’t talked to us. I’ve talked with the FBI and they haven’t talked to them and I’ll be contacting Clarksburg, which I imagine will tell me the same because we’re in constant contact with those groups and something like this would have been discussed.”
The press release sent out by the Bridgeport Police Department further goes on to say “We have no knowledge of what this individual is speaking of and it may have been posted to cause fear within the community.  We want to assure our residents if this were true we would take immediate action to protect our community from danger including any media release to inform our citizens of information.”
Walker said the department is working to make contact with the individual in question that made the post. At this time, he said he wasn’t sure when that would happen.
The post comes on the heels of a post made on Snapchat late March 2. On that evening, the Bridgeport Police received a call from employees at Cinemark Theater at Meadowbrook Mall regarding a Snapchat post from Mason James Taylor of Taylor County.
The Snapchat post was a picture of the theater's lobby with text that said “Instead of shooting up schools, how about we start shooting up movie theaters? First ones on me.” Taylor was quickly located and taken into custody without incident. Taylor has been charged with one felony count of Threats of Terrorist Acts and was taken to the North Central Regional Jail.
“This is something we have to react to if we see it on social media and we welcome any information, such as what took place at the mall earlier this month,” said Walker. “The problem arises when you put things out that can’t be confirmed and then it bogs down the system.”
Walker emphasized there is nothing to be concerned of regarding the particular post that appeared on Facebook.

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