A 28-year-old Tennessee man has been arrested and charged for creating a “disrespectful Photoshopped image.” He is accused of manipulating a photograph of a deceased officer’s grave and posting it on social media.
Joshua Andrew Garton was arrested and charged with one count of harassment after he reportedly Photoshopped a fake photo that depicted two people desecrating the grave of deceased officer Sergeant Daniel Baker. Baker was killed in the line of duty in 2018.
According to NBC News, the image apparently depicted two men urinating on the grave, with the accompanying text reading, “Just showing my respect to deputy Daniel Baker.”
This morning, District Attorney General Ray Crouch requested the TBI to investigate the origin of a troubling photograph, getting considerable attention on social media, that seemed to depict individuals desecrating the grave of a deceased local law enforcement officer. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/ivmp4cTs33
— Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (@TBInvestigation) January 22, 2021
The Tenessee Bureau of Investigation apparently was alerted to the photo and subsequently visited the gravesite where they determined the image had been faked.
“At the request of 23rd District Attorney General Ray Crouch, TBI Agents began investigating the origin of a photograph that depicted individuals desecrating the grave of a deceased local law enforcement officer, Sgt. Daniel Baker of the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office,” The TBI report reads. “Agents subsequently visited Baker’s gravesite this morning and determined the photograph was digitally manufactured. Further investigative efforts led to the identification of Joshua Andrew Garton (DOB 1-31-92) as the individual who manufactured the image and distributed it on social media.”
From the sound of the report, the image of the unnamed act of desecration must have been particularly believable to someone, as it warranted not only a report to the District Attorney General but also an in-person check by TBI officers. If this Twitter thread is to be believed, however, the result likely would not pass as real to many photographers:
This is the photo that our constitutionally illiterate law enforcement officers think is a crime to share. pic.twitter.com/jOBJZBaeGF
— Daniel A. Horwitz (@Scot_Blog) January 23, 2021
Lisa Baker, Sergent Baker’s widow, told WKRN News that the image was disturbing and disrespectful.
UPDATE: Investigative efforts, by TBI and the Dickson Police Department today, have led to a Harassment charge for a man accused of doctoring and posting a disturbing photograph depicting the desicration of the grave of Sgt. Daniel Baker.
— Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (@TBInvestigation) January 23, 2021
“Although I don’t really know what to say in regards to the disrespectful photoshopped image,” Lisa Baker said. “I have lived through the worst and continue to just push forward. There is not much that the people of this world can do to surprise me. All I can do is pray for the lost soul responsible and the safety of our law enforcement.”
Garton was arrested on January 22 and is being held in the Dickson County Jail on a $76,000 bond on the aforementioned charge of harassment and “other, unrelated legal issues.”
The arrest has led to a flurry of conversation over the act’s legality, which appears to be protected speech, as is discussed by Constitutional Litigator Daniel A. Horwitz in this Twitter thread.
Image credits: Background of header photo by Matt Popovich.