Matt Barrall of the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Department in Nebraska has been working hard on all the harassment that official John Higgins has received since he officiated the Kentucky game vs. North Carolina.
Barrall has even gone as far to listen to Sports Radio shows based in Kentucky to see if they instigated any of the threats Higgins has received.
Here is an excerpt from LEX18.com about the investigation:
Barrall said he also has been listening to about five hours of audio from Kentucky sports radio shows with an ear for threatening comments toward Higgins, whether by hosts or callers. Barrall also continues to monitor Kentucky fan websites.
Barrall said he suspected a video showing contact information for Higgins and posted on fan websites sparked the harassment. That video has been removed, he said.
“There is a lot of mass anonymity once something like that goes viral,” Barrall said. “People that on their own wouldn’t do something, their social values change when a lot of other people do it, and they decide to join in. This is the 21st-century version of a mob mentality because of social media.”
The next phase of the investigation likely would require subpoenas to be issued for phone and other records of those suspected of making terroristic threats.
“It was not that long ago where courts were reluctant to convict when offense was not initiated in our jurisdiction, but we do not face that anymore,” Polikov wrote. “Also, depending on the facts, we would collaborate with the local authorities where the offenses were initiated. I have not studied the federal options, but would consider turning to the FCC if in fact a talk show created the environment for harassment.”
It will be interesting if anything comes of this.