A UMass Lowell police officer proved to be nothing but a thug with a badge when he threatened a student for recording him in public.
“Shut that fucking thing off before I slap you,” the unidentified cop told UMass Lowell student Brendan Brown.
Brown knew he had every right to record, but he also knew the cop wasn’t bluffing, so he turned his cell phone camera off.
Massachusetts law makes it a crime to secretly record cops, which wasn’t the case here.
I would have asked the cop’s name while continuing recording, ready to block any potential slap. But anybody who has been in this situation knows it can be downright terrifying.
Brown had stepped out of a friend’s house Saturday night when he saw a group of police officers breaking up a brawl.
He stood at a respectable distance and began recording. Unfortunately, it was so dark, we really can’t see anything.
But we can clearly hear the cop threaten Brown.
Massachusetts Cop Block, which posted the video, attempted to interview the department’s police chief over the matter and received a whole lot of nothing.
So we can put the pressure on him by calling the number below.
Chief Brashears did not respond to any of my questions, but assured me that his department “take[s] citizen complaints seriously.” Though he did not comment on the department’s policy with respect to recording police activity, he did say that “The students involved have nothing to fear from our agency as I did not see any violations of the law on their part from the short video clip.” He said he will get back to me when he finishes investigating the incident.
I suggest contacting the UMass Lowell Police Department to let them know that the behavior of the officer in the video is unacceptable. You can contact the department on their non-emergency phone line at 978-934-2398. You can email the department at email@example.com or you can email Chief Brashears directly at Randolph_Brashears@uml.edu.
Please send story ideas and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org