A police force in the United Kingdom has warned social media users against making “racist” comments to a child rapist. South Yorkshire Police locked down their X account’s comment section after announcing the sentencing of violent pedophile Ziad Taibi.
Taibi was initially arrested in September after attacking a vulnerable 11-year-old child in Barnsley. Details about the victim, including their sex and exact vulnerability, have been withheld by authorities to protect the child’s identity and dignity.
According to a court hearing, Taibi stalked the victim through the town center before approaching and attempting to befriend them. After winning their trust, he convinced the minor to come to his home where he sexually attacked them.
Following the assault, Taibi reportedly sought to flee the area and evade justice. He was quickly apprehended, and pleaded guilty to multiple charges related to the rape of a child under the age of 13 in October.
Taibi was sentenced on December 21 to 15 years in prison. That same day, South Yorkshire Police announced the outcome of the case on their official social media.
“This is the face of a 41-year-old Barnsley man who raped a vulnerable child after spotting them wandering the streets alone at night. Ziad Taibi, of Spencer Street, has today been jailed for 15 years,” the force announced, also uploading Taibi’s mugshot.
But while many expressed relief that Taibi had been prosecuted, the post quickly prompted a number of comments criticizing the force’s description of Taibi as a native of Barnsley.
“I bet the folks of Barnsley, love him being called a ‘Barnsley’ man,” one user said.
“‘Barnsley man’ ?? How long had this one been in the country,” another asked.
Less than 24 hours later, South Yorkshire Police returned to their announcement to affix an additional post, this time targeting those they felt were making “racist” comments towards Taibi by pointing out that he didn’t appear to be from the country.
“While we welcome comments on our posts and understand people may have different views, we do not tolerate racism on our page,” they wrote. “If racist comments or remarks continue, we will turn comments off on this post. Such comments may also be investigated.”
Two hours later, South Yorkshire Police locked the reply section on their post, prohibiting further comments beneath Taibi’s mugshot. But the restriction didn’t stop X users, who began quoting the South Yorkshire Police’s posts with their thoughts.
“Investigating comments on a twitter post is a ridiculous waste of everyones time. You announced you caught a child rapist. Well done, why ruin it by pretending people cannot express their disgust with whoever did it? Stupid people,” one user remarked.
Another user asked: “You’d investigate Brits for commenting about a man who raped a child?”
This is not the first time a police force in the UK has come under fire for threatening social media users for expressing disdain towards a child sex offender.
Last year, Sussex Police posted in defense of a serial pedophile following “hateful” comments about his gender identity.
John Robert Dixon, a man who identifies as a “woman,” was sentenced to a minimum of 12 years in prison following a conviction on 30 charges related to the sexual abuse of multiple children. It had taken Sussex Police over three decades to bring Dixon to justice.
In a case update on Dixon’s conviction, Sussex Police referred to the predator as a “woman,” leading to backlash from women’s rights advocates. In response, the force began responding to people frustrated with the lack of accurate information in the update by issuing a scolding reply in which they condemned “hateful comments” towards Dixon’s gender identity.