California police cover suspects’ faces with LEGO heads due to new law

Alice Sjöberg
Police department cover suspects with Lego heads

The Murrieta Police Department in California has gained popularity recently after they started publishing photos of suspects they’d arrested but with their heads photoshopped as LEGO heads after a new law was introduced.

Murrieta Police Department explained on March 18 that the reason they’re adding LEGO heads to photos is to shield detainees’ faces to comply with a new state law prohibiting the release of mugshots and booking photos of those accused of nonviolent crimes.

On January 1, 2024, a new law was put into action in California which was made to protect the identities of suspects of nonviolent crimes.

The new law, Assembly Bill 994 and Penal Code 13665 which was signed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom last September and implemented on Jan 1, 2024, prohibits law enforcement from sharing suspect photos for nonviolent crimes – unless specified circumstances exist.

Police have covered suspects' faces with LEGO heads

The law also requires police departments to remove other mugshots from social media after 14 days.

Murrieta Police Department wrote on Facebook: “The Murrieta Police Department prides itself in its transparency with the community, but also honors everyone’s rights & protections as afforded by law; even suspects.

“In order to share what is happening in Murrieta, we chose to cover the faces of suspects to protect their identity while still aligning with the new law.”

But the practice is nothing new for the Murrieta police as they have been obscuring suspects’ faces for several years before the new law was introduced, using emojis, Barbie dolls, and Shrek.

Police covering suspects' faces with Barbie and Shrek heads
Murrieta Police Department has previously covered suspects’ faces with Barbies and Shrek

“Some of the reasons were the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law, the effects a post could have on an individual or their families outside of the criminal proceedings they may be subject to (public shaming) and some of it came down to workload,” the department previously wrote.

“Our goal is to keep our citizens informed on what is occurring in the City in which we all live as well as the work the police department is doing on behalf of the citizens,” it added.

Despite people criticizing the new law, people couldn’t help but laugh and joke in the comments of the Facebook post. One person wrote: “Are the makers of Lego okay with this?”

A second person joked: “Officers should carry actual Lego heads around on their cars and when they arrest someone, place the Lego head on the suspect and the Lego head must remain on the suspect until released from custody.”

About The Author

Alice is an Entertainment Writer at Dexerto, whose expertise include social media, internet culture, and Reality TV. She is a NCTJ qualified journalist that previously worked in local news before moving on to entertainment news with OK! Magazine and a wide variety of other publications. You can contact Alice at