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AG Nessel and MSP warn against ‘vigilante behavior’ for child molesters

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State Police and the Michigan Attorney General are warning residents to not go after suspected child molesters on their own.

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Attorney General Dana Nessel and police say that citing recent activities in Grand Rapids, “vigilante activity will not be tolerated.”

“It is reckless and dangerous for residents to take matters of law enforcement into their own hands. Not only does it put them directly in harm’s way, it actually hinders our ability to keep our kids safe and protect them from dangerous individuals,” Nessel said in a press release. “In fact, well-meaning vigilantes not only endanger themselves, but their actions may result in important evidence being suppressed, impeding our ability to properly and effectively do our job.”

In Grand Rapids, Zach Sweers, who runs a YouTube channel Anxiety War, has been targeting predators for at least three years. He has nearly 325,000 subscribers on YouTube.

Nessel says that police have told the vigilante that they are not able to prosecute any more cases based on his information. Police say vigilantes are open to civil litigation and criminal charges is they act outside the law.

“Our priority is always public safety,” said D/F/Lt. James Ellis, commander of the MSP Cyber Section in the press release. “Taking matters into your own hands is dangerous and extremely harmful to a successful prosecution. Digital evidence collection, for example, has strict rules that must be followed for a case to legally move forward.”

Police say that anyone can report suspicious activity immediately through the Cyber Tip Line here.

 

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11 comments

  • Common cents

    If I found out some child molester hurt on of my kids they would wish they were in jail. I would make sure they never had the ability to do it again.

    • Just wanted you to know

      Zach didn’t threaten to break anyone’s fingers. The media took very small clips from a very long term engagement in order to paint a negative picture of him. The predator dropped his keys. When Zach picked them up, the predator threatened to break Zach’s fingers. Zach then said that if the predator stops trying to hurt him, he’ll open his hand and hand him the keys as originally intended. Just wanted to clear that up for you.

  • Inception

    Maybe if the police force actually did their jobs, then this guy wouldn’t have to do this and potentially risk his life…

    If he is able to have an entire Youtube Channel based on this, obviously this is a big problem in Michigan. Instead of working against him, maybe work WITH him to get these child predators off of the streets. Or do we not care about our children anymore?

  • Here TO OBSERVE

    I like how you say he’s taking actions reserved for law enforcement, and then refuse to cite them because you know he isn’t. Making a fake account is allowed for everyone, having a conversation online and documenting it is allowed to everyone, meeting someone in person to verify their identity, and video taping it is allowed for everyone. Either you know as a fact that he took actions reserved for law enforcement, which is illegal and he should have cops at his door this instant, or you know he hasn’t committed any crimes and are calling him a vigilante because you know it paints a negative picture in peoples minds and will damage his position in his community. That’s slander. She is literally facing huge pressure from conservatives who think she’s light on predators and I thought it was more of their ridiculous homophobic mudslinging. After seeing this occur though I can’t help but wholeheartedly believe that she clearly wants to make the streets safer for child molesters. I know where all the predators are going to be moving now. Michigan, where they know the police aren’t looking online and that the highest legal professional in the land will personal condemn any private attempt to do so.

  • Shadis

    If you support Zach, check out Popsquad too, they were in town for a couple days and busted a bunch of predators. They said hundreds of perverts reached out to their online profiles posing as kids in a matter of a day. The truth is, the State of Michigan and it’s city governments are doing absolutely nothing to address the huge issue of online predators, first exposed decades ago now by Chris Hansen. If it weren’t for private citizens exposing the issue, nobody except the victims would know this issue even exists. There are THOUSANDS, maybe HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS, of online perverts looking for pre-teens, and the AG said they only prosecuted TWENTY child predators so far this year!!! This is a problem that stems from the top brass across the country, from AG’s to county prosecutors, not wanting to expose online child predators!!!

  • qwertyuiop123

    Dana Nessel is literally supporting child predators, there’s nothing wrong with catching child predators and reporting them to the police (which he does). the FBI isn’t even doing their job, but when somebody does, they get mad about it. why? child predators are terrible people, and unfortunately are everywhere. he’s saving children by doing this, even if he’s only exposed a few.

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