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Social media, facial recognition helped ID vandalism suspects during Philly protests

Jeremy Roebuck and Vinny Vella, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in News & Features

Investigators later found photos of that skateboard on Rivera's Instagram along with images tagged with captions decrying heavy-handed police response to demonstrations, including the tear gassing of protesters who marched June 1 onto I-676.

"I've witnessed police do such awful things to so many innocent people the last few days," he wrote on June 2. "Attacking innocent people and pepper spraying peaceful protesters, assaulting women ... They don't care. I see it in their eyes. I watched them laugh in protesters faces."

A woman state police identified as Rivera's mother replied in the comments to one of his posts.

"There are bad police," she wrote. "But not all are bad ... But just how I feel disrespected and attacked when people talk (expletive) about teachers, imagine how the good cops must feel now. Those that really want to help people."

She added: "I just don't want to lose so many people to hate. I don't want your heart to be full of hate."


Four weeks later, her son ended up in jail.

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