Angry Internet users ID men in shark-dragging video; one seeks police protection

By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |  July 27, 2017 at 2:41 PM
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July 27 (UPI) -- Social media commenters led wildlife officials to the identity of two men seen in a video of a boat dragging a shark by its tail, prompting one of the men to ask for increased police presence near his Florida home.

The graphic video posted earlier this week shows the shark flopping around in the wake of the boat as it is dragged through the ocean. The video pans to show three men pointing and laughing at the animal. It's unclear if the shark is alive or dead, but a photo posted to social media shows two men holding the mangled remains of the shark's body.

Miami charter fisherman Mark Quartiano posted the video and photo to his Instagram account, sparking outrage from his followers. The images were sent to Quartiano by one of the men on the boat, a friend.

"They thought it was, funny, they thought it was cool," Quartiano told CNN. "Even if the shark was dead, you don't do that. It's totally disrespectful."

It was these same outraged social media commenters who would eventually help the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to identify the men in the boat.

Officials with the Florida commission said they aren't publicly identifying the men as they investigate the video. It's unclear if the men broke any laws by dragging the shark. No one has been charged or arrested for the incident.

Quartiano believes the shark is a blacktip, which is not protected.

The video has sparked such a response online that one of the men asked Palmetto, Fla., police to increase their patrols in his neighborhood, Chief Scott Tyler told The Palm Beach Post.

Tyler said there haven't been any incidents at the man's home, nor have people gathered at the residence.

"We're just keeping an extra eye open," he said.

"I think we all have some strong emotions about the video," he added. "Let's just let law enforcement conduct its investigation and find out what, if any, laws were broken.

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