Police in Maryland plan to live-tweet arrests of a prostitution sting in Prince George’s County. The department invited people to follow the sting as it happens by using hashtag #PGPDVice.
“From the ads to the arrests, we’ll show you how the PGPD is battling the oldest profession,” the Prince George’s County Police Department announced on its website Thursday.
However, the invitation was met with scrutiny by those who are not a fan of the plan.
Critics were using the hashtag to voice concern about the live-tweet session — calling it “police brutality” and a “horrific violation of rights.”
Police responded to the criticism by posting another message online Thursday night, saying they will only target people who solicit prostitutes, not prostitutes themselves.
“The intent all along has been to put on notice and/or arrest the very people who exploit women and even young girls in our community,” the message read. “Some young girls and women involved in prostitution are victims of human trafficking. Our Vice Unit regularly helps trafficked women connect with groups and advocates who help them escape the dangerous sex trade.”
The PGPD has not yet responded to ABCNews.com’s request for comment.
Last week, a social media campaign by the NYPD also backfired. The police force asked Twitter users to post photos of themselves with officers, using the hashtag, #myNYPD. People flooded the NYPD’s account with photos of police brutality in action, showing officers wielding pepper spray and bloody protesters.