Boston police threatened to arrest a journalist for making phone calls to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, accusing him of being way too “aggressive” in his quest for public records, vowing to charge him with criminal harassment for the “scary” tactics he insists on using during his phone calls.
To put it in non-hyperbolic police talk, they are upset that he insists on recording all phone calls with them.
It’s a story we’re all too familiar with.
The reporter’s name is Andrew and he is part of the newly launched Bay City Examiner news site, which looks very promising.
His partner in the site, a woman named Maya who was the driver pulled over in the story from earlier today, then decided to go to the district attorney’s office in person to file her public records request.
But once again, they refused to talk to her because she insisted on video recording the exchange, and was ordered out of the building by two cops and a third man with a badge who claimed not to be a cop.
After taking the elevator downstairs, she came across another employee of the district attorney’s office and tried to hand him the public records request, but he told her she was breaking the law by video recording him without consent.
He took the request anyway after he was corrected on the law that only forbids citizens from secretly recording others, a fact that is known to everybody in the world except Massachusetts law enforcement officials.
There is clearly a systematic abuse of power in Massachusetts in regards to the right to record, but it looks as if Andrew and Maya are prepared to take them head on.
After all, the records they are requesting pertain to police shootings throughout the state, so they already going for the jugular.
The top video shows Maya getting kicked out of the D.A.s office, the bottom video is the conversation between Andrew and the detective threatening to arrest him.
The cop who kicked Maya out is Lieutenant Detective Bernard E. Greene, Jr., pictured below, along with his business card. His direct line is (617) 619-4014.