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APD deletes ‘draft’ social media post about naked man amid criticism

The Anchorage Police Department has removed a controversial social media post from its Facebook page, saying the post was only a draft and not supposed to have been released to the public.

“Do you ever have a Wednesday that feels like a Monday?” the department asked in an unsigned “What Not To Do Wednesday” post issued after a post from earlier in the morning was removed. “Yeah...we’ll be posting that one again once we have the FINAL draft.”

The deleted post was about a man who supposedly asked officers to hold him in jail after being arrested for walking naked along the road. It generated numerous negative comments before being taken down, after which a department spokesman said it wasn’t supposed to have been published.

“It was incomplete and still in draft form,” wrote APD spokesman MJ Thim in a Wednesday email about the post, which was live for at least two hours before being taken down.

The original post (which was shared alongside a photo of the genie from the animated film “Aladdin”) referred to the naked man as “Mr. Birthday Suit” and described a bizarre encounter that took place in Anchorage:

“If you think the only true genie was from Aladdin, you are mistaken. We also have wish-granting abilities,” reads the deleted post.

“Mr. Birthday Suit was proudly strutting his stuff like there was no tomorrow. As soon as Mr. Birthday Suit saw the officer, he immediately turned around and put his hands behind his back. After the shiny bracelets were placed on his wrists, the officer asked Mr. Birthday Suit about his lack of clothing. Do you know what the answer was? Mr. Birthday Suit stated he wanted to go to jail and he had previously been informed by law enforcement that he would indeed go to jail if he walked around naked.”

“It gets better.”

“During the bail hearing the magistrate asked Mr. Birthday Suit if he wanted to go to jail. ‘Yes I do. For a very long time.’ The magistrate granted his wish — no bail. In this case setting no bail was the same as setting bail since Mr. Birthday Suit wouldn’t have paid the bail even if he had the choice. But no bail makes the story more fun. And it qualifies the magistrate as having wish-granting genie powers, too.”

“What Not To Do Wednesday” posts have been a regular feature of the department’s social media strategy for the past two years. The posts often include the department’s lighthearted take on crime in the city, but Thim has refused past requests for more specific information about them. The posts contain no disclaimer that they may have been embellished or fictional and are presented as actual APD cases.

Thim said Wednesday that he could not provide specific details about the incident referenced in the post and referred the request to the department’s public records office.

The original post generated numerous negative comments from the public, many of whom questioned why the department was making light of what could have been a mental-health issue.

“Not loving this ‘funny’ tone about a community member who clearly is in need of psychiatric intervention, which we all know they aren’t likely to get in this budget climate, Anchorage Police Department,” one commenter wrote below the now-deleted post.

The post was replaced with a story about a man who allegedly put up his own No Parking signs in the street and asked APD to enforce them. The department declined, according to the post.

“Yeah — no. Excellent try though,” the department wrote. “Quite impressive actually.”

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