The video Philadelphia police posted online represented a major break in a horrific case – capturing images of a group suspected in a vicious Center City attack on a gay couple.
The suspects in the video – a group of young men and women, laughing, smiling and dressed for a night out – had allegedly mocked two men walking near Rittenhouse Square before beating them badly, sending both to the hospital. One of the men was also robbed, police said.
Word spread, and within hours, people took to Twitter and the Internet, trawling through social media in an attempt to identify the men and women in the video and forwarding their findings to police.
As detectives in the case zeroed in on the suspects and fielded tips, the online effort to identify them became something of a crowdsourced investigation.