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Ohio rape case: Evidence on social media creates new world for justice (+video)

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Law enforcement is also increasingly perusing social media sites to learn more about gang activity and get a better sense of when retaliation among certain groups will strike. For example, last year, police departments in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia announced units to investigate social media behavior among gang factions, which often use mobile technology to plan, and later brag about, violent acts related to turf battles.

In Chicago, the strategy was used to investigate Keith Cozart, a rap star known as Chief Keef, who bragged on Twitter after a rival was gunned down in September. Mr. Cozart was also known for YouTube clips in which he mocked the slain victim.

Another local rapper named Lil Reese, whose real name is Tavares Taylor, came under scrutiny in October following the release of an online video to multiple hip-hop sites that show him severely beating an unidentified woman at a party. He was not charged because the woman could not be identified.

Paul Levinson, who teaches communications and media studies at Fordham University in the Bronx, says the motivation to document violence is “old-fashioned bragging.”

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