How vigilante ‘predator catchers’ are infiltrating the criminal justice system

Source: 9/22/22

It began with a live-streamed shaming in an Olive Garden parking lot. It ended with an Indiana cop on trial for child solicitation.

By Jessica Contrera

DANVILLE, Ind. — The jury was waiting. They’d cringed when they learned what kind of case they’d hear in this Indiana courthouse. Child solicitation.

But don’t worry, the county prosecutors assured them. There would be no graphic pictures. There would be no testimony from an abused child.

Because in this case, there was no child.

The man charged with the crime — a 37-year-old veteran named Joshua Clark — didn’t know the 14-year-old girl he thought he was texting with was actually an adult, prosecutors said.

The prosecutor stood up. “The state calls Eric Schmutte,” she said.

The courtroom doors opened. But no detective walked in.

Instead, there was a man in a polo shirt. His dreadlocks were tucked into a ponytail. After raising his right hand and swearing to tell the truth, Schmutte, a 35-year-old welder, began to explain why he was there.

He wasn’t just a welder. He was the founder of an organization called Predator Catchers Indianapolis.
“Our mission,” he said, “is to expose men and women that are online, preying on kids.”

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Talk about riders on storm. Guess some love money or try to be someone they are not suppose to be. You know the truth can either be harmful or dangerous at times. Doing wrong is always wrong but who’s feeding their own ego? Talk about getting even or backstabbing. Or bounty hunters on a con mission to induce another.

 So who’s right or wrong in all this epsode of “sex”bait robbery. with a teenage/child slant. Thats right its for public safety. And I thought I was crazy to talk a little dirty when they ask me. Are we all still learning lessons at others expense?

Six f*****g years in prison and there was no actual child???? What the actual f***?!?!?!?

The fact that transcripts of the chat conversations are not provided with complete and total transparency reveals the hidden, twisted, and deviant intent of those who seek to entrap gullible people for their own profit.

We should not trust any person or police authority who refuse to disclose their tactics in these investigations. Their weak claims that it will undermine the investigations shows how much they are trying to hide from the public. When an American citizen’s freedom is at stake, we should never take, “just trust us” as the answer. No human authority is the final arbiter of truth and virtue. The authorities need to be scrutinized twice as much as the average citizen. It is why the founders made the Constitution in the first place, to protect people from THEIR GOVERNMENT.

Regarding this case, this report shows that anyone can be led down a path into entrapment, if given enough coaxing, pressure, and time. Even the very little that was revealed about the chat conversations shows that the target was clearly thrown off and did not believe the decoy’s incongruent insertion of “I’m only 14” in her texts. Personally, if an adult I’m talking with online ever pulls that junk, I’d report them and get their account deleted. Don’t fall for this stupidity people!

The article said this vigilante group conducted 300 stings leading to 50 arrests. There is no mention of convictions. 50 of 300 is about 17%. So you ruin the lives of 250 persons by livestreaming in order to catch 50 potential predators, with no actual children protected? I’d also note that there was only a passing reference to registrants near the end of the article; another indication that the registry is ineffective.

Perhaps these predator catchers should try engaging with actual children online in an attempt to dissuade them, warn them or discover enough information to inform their parents or police. That might actually protect some abused or at-risk children. Of course that doesn’t have any online sizzle or income. Also the chances are good that these people would end up engaging with other groups pretending to be children. There is a certain poetic justice in that.

Guys I hate to say this but many can get screwed in many ways… Now the bible says “all lie” course one is not suppose to…. those are guide lines as Will Allen stated, and yes one can create one’s own divisions. God is a God of justice, even racial justice has its hay days, and the injustices going on today with this thing called a “Computer ” ordeal is a vain type of division. I know its hard to forgive someone after say 10 or so yrs in prison but remember this forum is all about justice for the sex registrant’s… Whether out in CA, PA, Georgia or any state. Government is playing with dynamite to con many and so are these vigilante groups.. So is this a Christian Nation with principals today or are authorities bending the principals to suite their own guidelines?

 Hey this computer is like Will Allen said its a type of toilet paper or note passing. Its the actions of an individual or group of people to enforce the law but have no authority…. Does a bank robber have the authority to rob a bank or steal another’s identity, or trap another in a con. Sure anyone can have their own authority do anything if they don’t get caught but is it the righteous way?

So lets talk human justice for a minute, even a bit about divisions or does render to Ceaser mean anything. What about Gun laws, do we use them to hunt, protect ourselves, our families or do we get drunk one night, become irresponsible and shot up the town or get even with another in many ways. Thsi computer is just a tool and yes its dangerous. Yes police have authority to do these things but if it goes against the bible such as many of these ordeals do than it is as unconstitutional as a wooden nickle in this land of liberty.

I just wonder how these dating apps allow this considering they are being used usually in violation of their terms of service where one has to be over 18 to use them. If one is actually over 18 and they are representing themselves to be under 18, if a vigilante is using it in violation, is that not a problem? LE is allowed to break the law to catch a violator as we all know, but does the vigilante have the same protections? It would seem prosecutors would overlook that for their “greater good” thinking.

Wow, they should also be investing their time trying to catch the online predators that are distributing Fentanyl-Laced products to Minors resulting in the death of those minors. Wouldn’t that be impactful!!!!!

This has GOT to be stopped! I do not want to end up getting caught in the middle of some “vigilante/predator” shoot out at the freaking Olive Garden parking lot! Nor s vigilante assassination! Both are possible!

These people are just going to make things worse! That is what always happens when you get vigilante groups pretending to be cops! The wink and nod endorsement from the cops is only going to make things even worse!

play stupid games, win stupid prizes 🤦‍♂️

The headline could be “Fascism infiltrates law enforcement.” It is stories like these that keep me glued to the registry despite not being on it. There is a much bigger picture going on and a careful read between the lines reveals it starts with the first paragraph:

The jury was waiting. They’d cringed when they learned what kind of case they’d hear in this Indiana courthouse.

Cringed? Really. The entire jury or just one or two, and how would the writer even know? Either way, this case was going to be one of the worst of the worst by pretending to be “14 or 12 or 8.” They are all equal of course. Horrendous, so horrendous any opposing view, or due process, is blacked out and shuttered.

But the trial.

“In Indiana and across the country, the criminal justice system is reckoning with an unprecedented boom in vigilante activity.”

They didn’t expect a trial, and what if the trial is only another facet of fascism? Despite the plain reasoning for the stings, is fascism a subconscious underlying motive? A bigger picture? A zeitgeist? Don’t they have enough righteousness to overlook some consequences?

Meanwhile, the very dangers that police and prosecutors always feared have come to fruition. One predator catcher was recently shot during a confrontation. Another forced a man to jump in a freezing river. Catchers and their fans have aimed to destroy reputations, only to realize they had the wrong guy. In the D.C. suburbs, where one group was specifically targeting Democratic officials, a woman who was told she was going to help stop child abuse said she ended up being used as bait and repeatedly groped.

Does the trial justify that?

Or this:

Every time a target texted them images of child sexual abuse, they were technically committing a felony by being in possession of illegal material.

When an Indiana man from Clinton County sent them six “absolutely disgusting” videos, including one showing what appeared to be a 5-year-old, they turned the clips over to police — but only after they live-streamed their catch.

Flagrant Entrapment?

They used to pair those pictures (of decoys) with faceless nude photos they’d found online, but after consultations with detectives and attorneys, they said they’ve recently quit sending nudes altogether.

Oh, elusive proof, like Xavier von Erck losing his hard drive.

Prosecutors would never be able to prove what happened during the first messages exchanged between Clark and Mackenzie. Schmutte said his account was deleted…

There is more of that, of course, as detailed in the article, but let’s get down to it.

“I was trying to screw with them like they were screwing with me,” he said. “I thought it was just some idiots trying to get people and rob them. I never thought it was about predators.”

Robbery or not, he knew he was getting scammed.

When he was suddenly surrounded by Schmutte and his team, Clark thought about the gun in his waistband. But he decided not to pull it out.

“Because they didn’t deserve it,” he said.

But maybe a part of him knew they did deserve it, only he couldn’t say so. Maybe it’s like some here who become more militant when they can speak freely. I don’t see how anyone can be 100% certain the person online will be the same person in real life. Indeed, it is probably very unlikely. Sure, it happens and maybe they get married and have kids.

Or maybe entrapment incites thoughts of guns and subtexts of antifa. But don’t complain too much as fascism takes over… because the children.

There is a WAY to STOP this SCUM “Predator catchers” As soon as they say they are ANYTHING UNDER 18 you REPORT them on the APP…. tthe APP Company will see thier CHAT saying they are UNDER 18 and DELETE them, Once the “Predator catcher scum” CONSTANTLY has thier accounts DELETED over and over again time after time they will stop making FAKE accounts… Or HOPEFULLY the APP Company will BAN thier MAC Address from ever signing up again. PROBLEM SOLVED (Of course the potential person they are TRYING to catch DEEFINATELY has to NOT be into under 18’s !! real simple….
Im on MANY apps as soon as a PERP says they are UNDER 18 I REPORT them they always get deletted and have to START all over….

And IF the PREDATOR PERPS have a ongoing chat….with someone they wanna catch…. well that CONVO will be deleted also !

I really hate scum like this man. Anyone who wants to try and be the police is worst than the police—in my opinion. He’s an embarrassment to the African-American community where we have more pressing needs. Instead, this fool wants to be some Chris Hansen in dreads who goes around hassling people on a computer that never touched a child. Eric Schmutte, you are a schmuck. Your dumb self should stick to welding.