CLEARWATER, Fla. - Clearwater Police detectives are investigating a violent YouTube video that recently surfaced.
The video, which shows several young men fighting, was found by a woman who says she has a child with the man egging the boys on. Rosemarie Hicks says she found it on 35-year-old Clearwater resident Jose Colon's Facebook page. Hicks then tipped off Clearwater Police.
The Department of Children and Families was also notified of the video and is investigating.
Though no one's sure yet whether the tip is legitimate, that's no different than most other tips that come into law enforcement.
"It's what we're going to investigate. We're going to go to the house, talk to the neighbors, talk to the kids themselves. This is just what initiates the process," said Department of Children and Families Spokesperson Terr Field.
If the man is positively identified as Jose Colon, and the boys are identified as his sons, charges are possible.
"It can be better than anything you have from an eye witness because an eye witness can forget, they can lie, they can be biased. Video gives you the picture and it's there forever," said criminal defense attorney Mark Rankin.
The video is just one example of a resource that's growing more common for law enforcement.
"There's a tendency for people to want to post things on line, good and bad. Because literally millions of people can see those things, if somebody suspects abuse or neglect, they have a responsibility to call," Field said. "We take them as seriously as any of our calls, sometimes more so, sometimes more so because we have evidence right in front of our face."
Information posted on social media sites typically stand up well in a court of law.
"Its going to be some of the best evidence that you have," said Rankin.
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Last week, the I-Team was there when 99-year-old Willi Berchau was released from Florida's guardianship program after a three year court battle.