A man with a long history of filing lawsuits filed a suit against the Boston Police Department this month, accusing them of violating his rights to take pictures.
Max Strahan, who has gone by Richard Max Strahan in previous suits against various government agencies – and has been dubbed “Mad Max” by some media entities – describes an incredulous story between him and an off-duty officer named Kenisha Stewart.
In 2008, Strahan was taking pictures of a crane truck working on a sidewalk near Boston Common when he inadvertently photographed Stewart, according to the suit.
Stewart then ordered him to delete the photo, accusing him of violating the state’s wiretapping laws.
First of all, a still photograph does not record audio, so there is no remote chance it could have violated the wiretapping law.
And second of all, it is only a violation of the state’s wiretapping law if you “secretly” record somebody without their consent.
So even if he was openly videotaping the crane instead of photographing it, it would not be a violation of the state’s wiretapping law.
Nevertheless, Stewart kept demanding he delete the photo and Strahan kept photographing her before running off with Stewart giving chase.
Strahan then dipped into a pizzeria where he ordered a couple of slices, before Stewart caught up to him and began radioing for back-up as she stood outside, peering at him through the pizzeria’s window.
So Strahan gulped down his slices and continued running.
This is how he explains it in his lawsuit:
Strahan panicked, and fled the pizza shop. As he fled, he heard Stewart asking other police for assistance in intercepting him and holding him until she arrived. He ran around the corner to the Boston Common AMC cinema complex on Tremont Street, at which point, a BPD employee, defendant James Rowley (“Rowley”) rammed him with his bicycle, and grabbed him firmly by the shoulder, screaming at Strahan that he was under arrest. He held onto him until Stewart arrived, and then she explained to Rowley what happened, asserting she did not arrest Strahan on her own because she did not have her badge or gun.
Stewart again ordered Strahan to destroy his pictures or be arrested. Rowley then yelled at Strahan to do as Stewart said, or else he would hurt him and arrest him in order to back up Stewart. Strahan remained immobilized while more BPD arrived on the scene (the John Doe defendants). Strahan screamed to let him go, but Stewart and Rowley told him he was being detained for disorderly conduct. Other BPD officers threatened to beat Strahan and to arrest him unless he destroyed his photographs of Stewart. One defendant with whom Strahan had had a previous encounter (identified as “John Doe Motorcycle”), stated to Strahan that if he did not destroy the pictures immediately, he was going to “beat your ass,” while grabbing his gun.
Another BPD officer (identified as “Jon Doe Sergeant”), recognized Strahan and asked him why he was not saving the whales today.
Strahan had long ago dubbed himself the “Prince of Whales” because of his efforts to save whales. He has been arrested more than 130 times in these efforts.
Strahan was also seeking a restraining order against Boston police officers, but the judge denied it on the basis that he hadn’t really been harassed since that 2008 incident, according to Courthouse News.
However, the judge ruled that the suit can proceed.
So what do you think? Has Strahan conjured a whale of a story?