Sheriff’s Deputies Jailed for Videotaped Sex With Minors, But We Can’t Publish Their Mugshots?

Eric Burdette |

While the nationwide debate continues over the filming of cops by private citizens, some choose to be filmed willingly… While having sex… With minors.

Such is the case in Pensacola, Florida, where Escambia County sheriff’s deputies Mark Smith and Walter Thomas were arrested and charged with felony sexual assault on a minor back in March of this year.

The case stems from an investigation of a local couple, Douglas and Leah Manning, known as “swingers” because they allegedly practice sex with multiple partners.

The investigation turned up evidence that the two deputies were involved in illicit sexual activity with minors who were introduced to the deputies by Leah Manning.

Douglas Manning is alleged to have videotaped the sexual assaults.

Both Douglas and Leah are civil servants themselves being employed as paramedics in a neighboring county.

While it is encouraging to know that the two deputies have been arrested and will likely face prison time for their misdeeds, the case also shows a glaring inequity in the system.

The couples’ faces were plastered all over TV and the internet while a nationwide manhunt ensued seeking their capture.

Meanwhile, the deputies pictures have oddly escaped the public glare.


The reason is an obscure Florida statute which protects deputies from having their mug shots shown publicly in order to protect them and their families.

However, for a state that is on the front lines of governmental transparency with its Sunshine laws, this statute is a travesty.

One of the biggest problems with the rise of the police state and its subsequent abuse of power, is that police are given a double standard.

How can we expect those entrusted with enforcing the laws to abide by them when they are repeatedly allowed to be above it.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, correct?

In this case, if the people who set up and videotaped the sexual assaults are going to be identified publicly through pictures, then certainly the actual perpetrators of the acts should be as well.

As criminal suspects, they have no expectation of privacy or protection.

At least not any more than any other citizen charged with a crime.

Hiding their faces “for their protection” doesn’t jibe with “equality under the law”.

We will continue to monitor this case as it proceeds through the criminal justice system.

But suffice it to say that while a large percentage of law enforcement likely wish not to be filmed, these two deputies didn’t seem to mind one bit… That is, until their deviant acts hit the light of day.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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