Police arrested a Marion, Ohio, woman after she posted a video on Facebook claiming one of children was nearly abducted at an area Walmart, according to the Marion Star.
Chelsie “Harris” Hendel, 27, was arrested at her home on Friday evening. The arrest was on suspicion of inducing panic.
According to the Marion Star, she live-streamed the video on Facebook for over a minute. In the video, Hendel stated that someone grabbed her daughter’s arm in the Walmart parking lot.
She said the man had dark hair and was wearing a blue shirt, dark jeans, and sneakers.
“That man walked up and he grabbed [my daughter] and I looked at him and I said what the f*** are you doing? That is my kid,” she said in the video according to the Marion Star.
“I wanted to let everyone know about this because they couldn’t get a good look of him on the cameras,” she continued. “There is nothing really that we could do about it but she is fine and everything is fine.”
The post quickly gained hundreds of reactions. Hendel also claimed to have reported the incident to law enforcement and Walmart store personnel.
According to the Marion Star, the Marion Sheriff’s Office said Hendel didn’t notify Walmart or report the incident to law enforcement. Sheriff Tim Bailey said the department reviewed the footage, which showed her arriving at the store, shopping with her children, and leaving without incident.
Deputies then went to Hendel’s home to discuss the incident. During the discussion, Hendel admitted to making up the story.
“The constitution protects free speech but there are certain limitations,” the sheriff told the Marion Star. “For instance, you can’t walk into a crowded movie theater and shout fire.”
Facebook first introduced the ability to live-stream videos in 2015. According to The Guardian, the live videos can outpace Facebook’s ability to review content, leading to posts that are offensive or false, such as Hendel’s video.
Fake videos often garner tens of thousands of views. In July, a “satirical” video splicing together footage of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was posted to Facebook. It had more than a million views in less than 24 hours. The video was posted without any indication that it was a satire, according to The Verge.
In Hendel’s case, it led to her being taken into custody, and she is facing a misdemeanor charge of inducing panic.
Hendel’s video has been removed from Facebook.
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