Evanston Police Chief Demitrous Cook, at a news conference this morning, apologized for accidentally posting to the social media app Snapchat images of about 30 people who were under suspicion in a criminal investigation.

Cook said he was introduced to the app at a recent community meeting and thought it took excellent photos, so when he was reviewing some investigative files around 6 p.m. Monday he snapped about 80 images from the files — thinking he was saving them only to his cell phone.

But instead, Cook says, they actually were posted publicly on the Snapchat app, where one or more people who knew of his account started distributing them more widely on social media.

The chief says another member of the police department alerted him to the mistake within about an hour, but by the time they were able to remove the photos a few minutes later, the images were already being distributed online.

Cook said he had planned to consult the stored images while reviewing the files about the investigation at home later that night.

“These photos should never have been posted publicly,” Cook said. “As soon as I found out the mistake I immediately removed the photos.”

He says he reached out to those whose images were posted and their families and “have personally apologized to them and to members of the community who are rightfully upset.”

“I own this mistake and I want to apologize to the community and to anyone who who may have been impacted,” Cook added. “It was never my intention to cause any harm or pain.”

Some people who attended the news conference said they had relatives whose photos had been posted.

A woman complained that her son’s juvenile record had been expunged — but now his photo was being spread on the internet.

A man who addressed the chief during the news conference.

An older man said he was also a relative of one of the people whose photos were released. “You made a mistake,” he said, “But I don’t see why we can’t forgive you for making one simple mistake.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. THIS guy is in charge of criminal investigations?!?!
    His excuse for compromising investigations is that he doesn’t know how to use snapchat??!?! How can we expect him to competently run a police force if he doesn’t even know how to use his phone?!?!?!

    He is either very careless or clueless.

  2. My concern is how much this

    My concern is how much this senseless mistake might cost the city in settlement fees (and outside legal fees?) when the inevitable civil rights lawsuit is filed against the city.  Again, money which could have gone to the reparations fund.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *