Privacy Law

TV station posted interrogation video with Social Security number, says lawyer who plans lawsuit

The South Carolina woman accused of leaving her 9-year-old daughter in a park while she worked at McDonald’s is planning a lawsuit against a TV station that posted her interrogation video without editing out her Social Security number, according to her lawyer.

Debra Harrell was charged on July 1 with willful abandonment of a child, and her daughter was placed in foster care for three weeks, the Washington Post says. Her lawyer, Robert Phillips, says Harrell plans to sue WJBF-TV and one of its reporters for posting the unedited video, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Harrell gave her name, address and Social Security number in the video, which was posted with the information for about an hour, the story says. The video has since been edited.

The Post says the police questioning in the video “resembles a lecture more than an interrogation.” It gives this example:

Officer: You’re her mother, right?

Harrell: Yes, sir.

Officer: You understand that you’re in charge of that child’s well-being?

Harrell: Yes, sir.

Officer: That’s not other people’s job to do so.

Harrell: Yes, sir.

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