- Aransas Pass Police Department/Facebook
- The #FeelingCute challenge is simple.
- Say you’re feeling cute and what you might do later along with a picture.
- But people think some police officers may have taken things too far, with posts that seem threatening.
- Several state-level officials say they are investigating the posts, which were shared in a now-private Facebook group.
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The old saying goes, “Felt cute, might delete later.” Sure it can be seen as a gimmick for attention when deployed as a photo caption. And, yes, it’s often mocked in meme format.
Now, on some corners of social media – namely Instagram and Facebook – it’s been co-opted into a challenge.
The #FeelingCute challenge is simple: Say you’re feeling cute and what you might do later along with a picture.
According to America’s Police Problem, early versions of the challenge can be traced to a UPS Driver, Courtney Muse. Late in March, he posted a Snapchat selfie with the caption, “Feeling cute, might deliver your package later. Idk” Harmless enough.
On social media, it’s become especially popular with law enforcement officers.
On Monday, the Aransas Police Department in Texas posted a photo of a police car, which also appeared to be a screenshot from Snapchat, participating in the challenge.
“Feelin’ cute .. might stop someone later, IDK,” the text overlay said.
The majority of the comments on the picture were positive and reassuring.
“I love the APPD sense of humor,” one person commented. “Love it,” someone else wrote.
In particular, The Houston Chronicle noted that the challenge really took off in the now-private Facebook group, Correctional Officer Life. According to its description, the group aims to “discuss, share, socialize and study experiences in officers’ life from all over the world.”
Part of that, according to the newspaper, meant taking part in the #FeelingCute challenge.
But some think the use of the hashtag has become inappropriate – especially within the group.
Dressed in what appeared to be a Texas Department of Criminal Justice uniform, one woman captioned a selfie with something more alarming.
“Feeling cute, might just gas some inmates today, IDK,” she wrote, per the Houston Chronicle.
And she’s not the only one to post something of that nature.
Other posts within the group on the hashtag suggested that an officer who feels cute might do any of the following:
- “Gas the whole wing later.”
- “Gas some inmates today, IDK.”‘
- “Spray my partner to keep interesting.”
- “Wrestle an inmate later.”
Many of these posts, which some considered threatening, appeared alongside pictures of officers in uniform who work in correctional facilities across the country – in states like Texas, Missouri, and Georgia. It didn’t take long for families of inmates to catch wind of this – and they were appalled.
“Families are enraged, this is a ‘gotcha’ moment for them,” Jennifer Erschabek, the executive director of Texas Inmate Families Association, told The Chronicle. “So many times they have reported these types of incidents in these memes only to be told that there was no evidence.”
In Texas, some officers are under investigation for their posts, the Washington Post reports.
“A handful of correctional officers employed by this agency are under investigation for on- and off-duty conduct violations as a result of the alleged posting of inappropriate photographs on social media,” Jeremy Desel, a spokesperson from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said.
He said that “if any of these allegations prove correct then swift disciplinary action as severe as termination of involved employees will occur.”
In a statement to the Washington Post, Joan Heath, a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Corrections said that “appropriate” action would be taken against officers if necessary.
“The alleged actions of these individuals do not reflect the conduct expected of any GDC employee, and will not be tolerated,” Heath said. “If the allegations are found to be substantiated, swift and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.”
On social media, many people said they found this iteration of the #FeelingCute Challenge to be wholly disturbing.
Well some of your #correctionalprofessionals decided to take part in the #FeelingCuteChallenge and posted their vile comments on social media-mainly facebook. What now? These actions should not be tolerated, period.
— PrisonReformMovement (@PrisonReformMvt) April 16, 2019
#FeelingCuteChallenge among correctional officers from several states in #USA have in mind that several inmates are abused in the prison system all over USA every day and then tell me if you think this is cute or funny!! @Martina @CarolinaE1962 @solitarywatch @UNHumanRights pic.twitter.com/shmMrJIhnc
— Sandie Natasja (@SandieNatasja) April 15, 2019
The #FeelingCuteChallenge with correctional officers boasting that they might commit acts of brutality is deeply sad and disturbing. It cries out for discipline.
— Rory Fleming (@RoryFleming8A) April 15, 2019
Back in Texas, Lance Lowry, a former police union chapter president, told The Houston Chronicle these posts aren’t indicative of the culture of correctional facilities as a whole.
“Out of the 25,000 state correctional officers in Texas, I’ve only seen a few violators,” he said. “They don’t represent the majority of the officers.”
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