Viral “challenge” videos are all the rage among a subset of the American population. The mannequin challenge seemed much safer than the ice-bucket challenge that preceded it (where many people were hurt when friends dropped ice-filled buckets on their friend’s heads). But some participants in this video probably regret making it, as they’re now sitting in jail.
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Conceptually, this idea has legs. A bunch of friends stage a scene straight out of a rap video and pose with all of their hardware as if the cameraman has been able to capture a drive-by shooting in freeze-frame. Only one problem. The guns they’re holding are real, and some of the stars of this video are felons.
As such, the video attracted the interest of local and federal authroities. Tuesday morning, early, many of these same officials used the information gained from the video to make a visit to a residence in Alabama, where they arrested some of the mannequins.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office, the Huntsville Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives all participated in the bust.
Kenneth White was charged with first-degree possession of marijuana and “certain persons forbidden to possess a firearm.”
“In order to receive the ‘certain persons forbidden to possess a firearm,’ you must be convicted of a felony,” Capt. Mike Salomonsky said.
Terry Brown was charged him with possession of drug paraphernalia, loitering and promoting prison contraband.
“Upon his arrival at the main facility after his incarceration, he was found to have marijuana on his person. So that brought about the additional charge which is a felony on him,” Capt. Mike Salomonsky.
“There are several persons in the video who may be convicted felons,” Capt. Salomonsky said. “So, we’re going to try to do some identification, work with the ATF and see if we can generate any charges out of that.”
“We used a breaching technique which caused the front door to be removed from the residence,” Capt. Salomonsky said of their early morning raid. “They encountered one subject that was in the front room and he was armed. But, he told them he was armed.”
The authorites are not shy about their reason for investigating the residence. “You have a lot of people with firearms at one address,” Salomonsky noted. “And you have to ask yourself the question, ‘Why?’ and the second question you have to ask yourself: is it a public safety issue?”