The Boston Police Department, never one to refrain from intimidating journalists, tried to flex its muscle against reporters from the Bay State Examiner earlier this month as they tried to record some type of training exercise in a parking lot clearly in view from the surrounding public sidewalks.
The beauty of the interaction is the skill Andrew and Maya demonstrate in knowing and understanding the laws and their rights, especially when it comes to what police are required when asked for their “identification cards.”
It’s a good skill to use when police are demanding your identification in situations when you are not legally required to provide it.
Boston police officer Michael Principe remained uncomfortably close to Andrew, even when Andrew asked him to step back as there is no need to invade the personal space of another just to have a conversation.
But that is just a typical cop intimidation tactic in the hope you might push them off, so they can beat or kill you.
Try doing that to a cop and see how long it takes before you are tased, beaten, handcuffed or shot because you caused the officer to “fear for his life.”
The training exercise, which was meant to train officers in how to prepare for a bomb going off in a Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority station, was supposedly open to the media, and there was even a sign stating, “observer check-in.”
According to the Bay City Examiner:
Eventually Principe walked away and we were able to record the training exercise for some time without incident. We saw actors covered in fake blood exit the cordoned off area yelling that a bomb had gone off and calling for help. The actors appeared to be heading towards ambulances, but were instead grabbed and detained by police officers who frisked them and searched their bags, a sight that we found very troubling.
We wondered why the police appeared to be training to detain bombing victims and impede their access to medical treatment. Was the lesson learned from the Boston Marathon bombing really that too many bombing victims were able to get to medical attention without first being intercepted by the police?
Later, we were able to get Principe to get his supervisor, Sergeant Christopher Connolly. Connolly refused to tell Principe to show us his ID card. Instead, Connolly told us we weren’t allowed to record what was going on because he didn’t want “bad guy knowing how we train.” He asked (but did not order) us to leave several times and Andrew declined. Connolly then told Principe to arrest both Andrew and Maya (even though Maya hadn’t declined to leave). Andrew asked why and Connolly claimed we were interfering with the training which was absurd considering we were standing across the street from where the training was happening and we had been recording it for quite some time before Connolly decided we were interfering.
It is also worth pointing out that, prior to Connolly telling Principe to arrest us, he had merely requested that Andrew leave. He never claimed that it was illegal to be on the sidewalk prior to authorizing our arrests.
Additionally, it turns out that there is no law against “interfering” with a police officer in Massachusetts. According to an article published last year by the Massachusetts Bar Association, there is no law against interfering or obstructing a police officer in Massachusetts nor is there a common law basis for an interfering or obstructing a police officer charge.
Connolly backed down from having us arrested and instead led us off of the supposedly off-limits sidewalk and into the street where Andrew had been told he couldn’t stand earlier, while making the bizarre claim that we couldn’t stand on a public sidewalk because vehicles would be passing through. He told us we would have to stand on a different street where our view of the training was blocked by construction equipment, making it impossible for us to record what was going on. We left under duress because we didn’t want to have to deal with being arrested, even though we knew the arrests would have been wrongful.
Our attempt to record on a public street was ultimately thwarted by extremely hostile and threatening Boston police officers who used of multiple baseless arrest threats to coerce us. It seems that the Boston police department still haven’t learned their lesson even after paying out more than $200,000 in legal settlements to Simon Glik and Maury Paulino, both of whom were were falsely arrested for recording Boston police officers in public.
As many of you know, PINAC has received its share of intimidation tactics from the Boston Police Department, only for it to blow up in their faces, but they haven’t seemed to learned their lesson because they have continuously harassed, threatened and attempted to intimidate the reporters from the Bay State Examiner.
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And it’s becoming clear that these two are not ready to back down anytime soon.