Police say Instagram account IDs Philly witnesses

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Associated Press

Posted on November 8, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 9 at 10:06 AM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Police say they're investigating an anonymous social media account that they say had been identifying witnesses in violent Philadelphia crimes.

Philadelphia police said Friday that witness intimidation can't be allowed and that authorities will work to hold people accountable.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports (http://bit.ly/1abk873) the "rats215" account on the photo-sharing app Instagram had posted photos, police statements and testimony identifying more than 30 witnesses since February.

Instagram isn't saying whether it took down the now-closed account, but a spokeswoman says community guidelines don't allow content that bullies or harasses.

District attorney's spokeswoman Tasha Jamerson says witness intimidation is a serious problem in Philadelphia and people are arrested daily in the city's criminal courts building for taking photos of witnesses, victims' families and judges and posting the photos online.

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Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.philly.com

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