LEGO to California police department: “Stop putting Lego heads on mugshots”

Apr 1, 2024

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

LEGO to California police department: “Stop putting Lego heads on mugshots”

Apr 1, 2024

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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lego mugshot

California police department has been publishing mugshots featuring Lego minifigures’ heads on suspects’ bodies. But Lego’s had enough – they asked Murrieta police to stop.

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As NBC News writes, The Murrieta Police Department began using Lego heads to cover people’s faces back in November 2022. However, it only recently captured the eye of the toy company. The department posted an image titled “Why the covered faces?” on Facebook, featuring a group mugshot with Lego heads instead of faces. And it looks like this one was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

On March 19, Lego reached out and “respectfully asked [the police department] to refrain from using their intellectual property in our social media content”, Lt. Jeremy Durrant said in a statement, adding that they “understand and will comply with” the plea.

Durrant told PEOPLE that Lego officials “were flattered [they] were using their images but asked us to respectfully refrain from using their intellectual property in [their] social media pages.”

“It was a good conversation. They didn’t go demand that we take everything down. It was basically, ‘Hey, you guys had a good run. Go ahead and stop from now.’ And we’re like, ‘Yep, not a problem.’”

Why the covered faces, indeed?

Law enforcement agencies in the United States frequently share photo galleries on social media for “Mugshot Mondays” and “Wanted Wednesdays” to interact with the community. It started with emojis, and at some point, the department switched to Lego heads. “It seemed to be a fun way to get people’s attention and got some engagement,” Durrant said.

Experts warn about the harmful consequences of posting mugshots online. Mugshots can suggest guilt for people still awaiting trial (and they’re not necessarily guilty). Additionally, these images can make it challenging for anyone who wants to move past a criminal conviction to get a job and can haunt them for the rest of their lives, AP News notes.

“The Murrieta Police Department prides itself in its transparency with the community, but also honors everyone’s rights & protections as afforded by law; even suspects,” the police department wrote in a Facebook post. “in order to share what is happening in Murrieta, we chose to cover the faces of suspects to protect their identity while still aligning with the new law.”

“We are currently exploring other methods to continue publishing our content in a way that is engaging and interesting to our followers,” Durrant added, but didn’t provide additional comment. According to multiple sources, Lego didn’t respond to comment requests either.

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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One response to “LEGO to California police department: “Stop putting Lego heads on mugshots””

  1. Iain Mack Avatar
    Iain Mack

    Use smiley faces. No copyright on the original artwork.