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Massachusetts Cop Threatens to Smash Camera into Man’s Face

 

A Massachusetts cop threatened to smash a camera into a man’s face if he dared take one more photograph of her.

Instead, he started video recording her.

The video shows Barnstable police officer Gretchen Allen walking away from Robert Bastille, who runs a local news site called Hyannis News.

“You’re going to hit me?” Bastille can be heard saying. “I”m sorry, you’re going to threaten me, officer?”

“Are you trying to cause a scene right now cause I’ll arrest you for disorderly instead,” an obviously distraught Allen tells Bastille.

Instead of what?  Smashing the camera in his face?

According to Bastille, her exact words, which prompted him to turn on his video camera, were, “I swear… take one more photo and I’ll take that camera and smash it in your face.”

Barnstable police officer Gretchen Allen: “I swear… take one more photo and I’ll take that camera and smash it in your face.” Photo by Robert Bastille

Barnstable police officer Gretchen Allen: “I swear… take one more photo and I’ll take that camera and smash it in your face.” Photo by Robert Bastille

In the video, Bastille continues to berate her for threatening him, an allegation she never denies.

She instead calls for back-up and orders him to “stop taking my photograph.”

Meanwhile, some clueless wanker walks up and tells him to “be nice to the officer, be a gentleman.”

After a minute when it dawned on her that he was shooting video and not taking photos, she informed him that it was illegal to record her.

“Are you recording right now?” she asks.

“I am videotaping, which is within my Constitutional rights,” he responds.

“It most certainly is not,” he replies.

He then brings up the Glik vs. Boston landmark case, which not only took place in the same state, but established the citizens do have the right to record cops in public.

But that didn’t stop her from threatening to seize his camera “as evidence,” a threat which he also brushed off.

It is clear that Bastille knew the law and that Allen didn’t, even though she tries to berate him by pointing out that he is not a cop, so there is no way he can know the law better than her.

Lieutenant Michael Clark eventually arrived on the scene and straightened her out, according to Bastille’s write-up on the incident, where he goes to great lengths to explain he is not anti-cop.

But he doesn’t hesitate to state that Allen is not fit to be a cop, which anybody can see from this video.

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Here is a synopsis of the incident from his write-up:

The patrol officer was inspecting a bag in plain view and I was naturally curious as to what was going on. When the severity of an investigation is unknown, it is the policy of Hyannis News to take several still photos of the action just in case it turns out to be something interesting.

I took my first photo and looked up. The officer was angry about something, but having an earplug for the scanner in one ear… I was unable to discern precisely what she was trying to say. I only sensed she was very angry.

I walked closer so I could hear, she told me she didn’t want her picture taken or placed on the internet in one of my stories. Her tone struck me as aggressive. She wasn’t requesting I withhold a photo as a courtesy for some good reason. She was basically ordering me not to take pictures of her whatsoever.

At this point I raised my camera and took another photo. The officer stopped, abruptly turned and said the following,“I swear… take one more photo and I’ll take that camera and smash it in your face.”

Lieutenant Micheal Clark arrived and removed the arresting/detaining officer from the scene. He took her around the corner of the building where they had a lengthy conversation.

My father arrived to check on me and told the two backup officers that in almost 50 years I had never ever been in trouble with the law… not once. My father was as confused and worried as I was about the way things were going.

Bottom line: The officer returned to the scene and with a tear in her eyes asked me if I was “happy.” I took that to mean she didn’t get the news she wanted. She was hoping she could charge me with felony wiretapping or something else.

 

About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.