College student uses Snapchat filter to appear as an underage girl, leading to officer's arrest


A college student was able to take down a police officer, who was allegedly attempting to meet with an underage girl, after using Snapchat's "gender switch" filter.

Ethan, a 20-year-old San Francisco Bay Area student, posed as a 16-year-old girl named Esther on Tinder after using Snapchat's filter to give him the appearance of a female. In a conversation with NBC, he said he was inspired to take things into his own hands when a close friend revealed she had been molested as a child.

San Mateo police officer, Robert Davies, took the bait.

"I was just looking to get someone," Ethan said. "He just happened to be a cop."

Ethan told the station: "I believe he messaged me, 'Are you down to have some fun tonight?' and I decided to take advantage of it."

The conversation moved to a different app where Ethan told the officer he was 16. He provided screenshots of the 12 hour-long conversation to police, which showed the officer did not have an issue with the young age.

The screenshots, which Ethan described as "explicit," lead to Davies’ arrest last week on suspicion of discussing sexual activity with a minor on social media.

Davies, who was recently recognized for his police leadership, has been placed on paid administrative leave. He faces a charge of contacting a minor to commit a felony.

San Mateo police Chief Susan Manheimer provided NBC with the following statement: "This alleged conduct, if true, is in no way a reflection of all that we stand for as a Department, and is an affront to the tenets of our department and our profession as a whole. As San Mateo police officers, we have sworn an oath to serve and protect our communities. I can assure you that we remain steadfast to this commitment to serving our community with 'Professionalism, Integrity, and Excellence.'"

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