California police asked to stop using Lego heads to disguise suspects

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March 25 (UPI) -- A California police department said it will need a new way to disguise the faces of suspects in photos posted to social media after Lego asked the department to stop using its intellectual property.

The Murrieta Police Department has been using various images -- including emoji faces and characters from The Grinch, Shrek and Barbie -- to cover the faces of suspects in mug shots and other photos posted to social media for a couple of years, and this year California adopted a statewide law prohibiting police from sharing photos of suspects in non-violent crimes.


"The Murrieta Police Department prides itself in its transparency with the community, but also honors everyone's rights & protections as afforded by law; even suspects," the department said in a social media post. "In order to share what is happening in Murrieta, we chose to cover the faces of suspects to protect their identity while still aligning with the new law."


In recent weeks the department has made a practice of using images depicting the heads of Lego minifigs to block out of the faces of suspects in social media posts, but Lt. Jeremy Durrant said that particular practice has now come to an end.

"The Lego Group reached out to us and respectfully asked us to refrain from using their intellectual property in our social media content, which, of course, we understand and will comply with," Durrant said in a statement provided to the Murrieta Patch. "We are currently exploring other methods of publishing our content in a way that is engaging and interesting to our followers."

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