A college from the San Francisco Bay Area has taken down a cop using the gender switch filter on Snapchat.
20-year-old Ethan – who has chosen not to release his second name – has told police officers how he had a friend who was molested as a child, prompting him to take this action.
After creating the undercover profile, Ethan began a message exchange with San Mateo police officer, Robert Davies, who had allegedly been trying to meet with underage girls online.
As reported by NBC Bay Area, Ethan used Snapchat’s gender swap filter to feminise a picture of himself. He then took to Tinder where he posed as a woman by the name of ‘Esther’.
Ethan told NBC Bay Area how Davies messaged him, leading to them messaging on a different app:
I believe he messaged me, ‘Are you down to have some fun tonight?’ and I decided to take advantage of it.
I was just looking to get someone. He just happened to be a cop.
While texting on this separate app, Ethan told Davies he was 16, and asked if his age bothered him.
Police have stated screengrabs of the text exchange show Davies was apparently not bothered about ‘Esther’ being below the legal age of consent.
As reported by NBC Bay Area, Ethan said:
We started texting on there, and it got a lot more explicit.
Ethan has claimed he and Davies exchanged messages for more than 12 hours, and has given screengrabs of their exchange to Crime Stoppers.
San Jose police have since arrested Davies on suspicion of discussing sexual activity with a minor using social media.
Davies has since been put on paid administrative leave, according to reports from the San Mateo Police Department.
San Mateo police Chief Susan Manheimer released the following statement:
This alleged conduct, if true, is in no way a reflection of all that we stand for as a Department, and is an affront to the tenets of our department and our profession as a whole. As San Mateo police officers, we have sworn an oath to serve and protect our communities.
I can assure you that we remain steadfast to this commitment to serving our community with “Professionalism, Integrity, and Excellence”.
Police officers have said Davies now faces the charge of contacting a minor to commit a felony.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000. If you are a child seeking advice and support call Childline for free on 0800 1111.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.