Boston Police Attempt to Intimidate Journalists from Document Training Exercise from Public Sidewalk

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.”

Boston police officer Michael Principe
Boston police officer Michael Principe

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.

And it’s becoming clear that these two are not ready to back down anytime soon.

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.

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  • Lt. Redacted, USMC

    I suppose what I’d like to see sometime is an organized protest of a city like Boston where we get as many people as possible to spend a day video recoding and photographing their police in action.

    • Guest

      Flash mobs w/cameras? Just pick a “target” class building. like the fed courthouse and pick a time and watch the fun. Especially if you can get the mob to dribble in a few minutes apart. LEOs would be playing whack-a-mole trying to question all the people. Just walk up to one and see another.

      Imagine the chaos this flash mob would create:

      ” @ 1130am be at the Boston Fed courthouse w/vid recorder. Please wear a turban and beard. just record building quietly . Ignore other attendees.”

      11:30 am so lunch is screwed. I have this vision of the entire BPD sort of clutching their chest and falling over in shock. The more I think about it the funnier it gets…

      • inquisitor

        And everyone one wear a backpack containing a pressure cooker with wires hanging out of them.

  • Graham Shevlin

    The comments at the newspaper website are depressing…a lot of people bloviating about the journalists acting as trouble-makers, completely ignoring the police overreach.

    • DK

      Remember this is in Boston. City of the sheep.

      • Jim Morriss

        Every time I see something like this from Massachusetts I can’t help thinking “this is where the revolution started?” But as I ponder that thought I think “Maybe the British though there would be no resistance.”

        • LREKing

          Every time I see somethng like “Boston. City of the sheep.” I think how depersonalizing people makes it so much easier to hate them.

    • $910553

      The Northeast is Blue. What else would you expect? And by the way, Rove Republicans are Blue as well. Just not quite as deep as The Dwarf and Tiny Dancer and the REST of the donkeys…

      • Voice-Of-Concern

        Right that makes sense.
        Copwatch started in red red texas, right?
        Nope. Copwatch started in blue green Berkeley CA.

        This is NOT a red vs blue issue. That idea is just a distraction. Opposing the abuse of power is a non-partisan value. Don’t lose focus on what is important.

        • IcedTeaParty

          It’s good that a few more people are starting to recognize this. Now if we can only get Carlos to commit to that notion…

        • $910553

          Copwatch may indeed have started in Berkeley. But do you actually think that represents the MAJORITY opinion there??? My point is that the “people bloviating about the journalists acting as trouble-makers” are typical of Boston hive dwellers. And the comments vary little from what one would expect from any OTHER hive dwellers.

          • Voice-Of-Concern

            I think the issue we confront is abuse of power. A non-partisan issue, as it should be. There is no legitimate reason to make or even attempt to make it a partisan issue.

            I don’t give a damn what the majority thinks. The majority believe in gawd. I am an atheist. But when it comes to defending the First Amendment, I would stand shoulder to shoulder with (the absent) proud grandpa.

          • $910553

            It is indeed a non-partisan issue, because the leadership of BOTH parties have majorities who SUPPORT such abuse.

        • LREKing

          Not everyone is able to find a common ground. Some people are so filled with hate that they cannot believe that they share anything with the people they hate. You just have to send them over the the children’s table while the adults talk.

          • Voice-Of-Concern

            Agreed. Blind hatred is midway between childish and cartoonish


    I have a project in New Jersey called the “Open Carry Project” not guns, but camera’s. I’d, come to Boston for that one if you could get it off the ground, sort of an “Occupy Boston” with your video camera. By the way, this was funnier than an episode of Benny Hill !
    Principe is the Barney fife of the Boston PD. There must have been a hundred places for a bad guy (if they were even interested) to video record the whole Lets Play 911 Crew …..

  • dickgosinya48

    Your next stop should be in front of Principes house , day and night until he either fucks up and assaults you or cries like the little bitch he is.

    • Jim Morriss

      That IS harassment. I would not use that tactic in this instance.

      But if the street was not blocked off or clearly marked, it might be a good time to announce “free party w/free beer at an address within the area. Just to watch them fend off all the extra traffic. use flash mobs for good effect and affect. Tell them all to bring video cameras.

      • dickgosinya48

        Who cares? Do it anyway. go big or go home. You can walk up and down his street as much as want with a sign that says Boston PD hires morons and that’s free speech.

  • Steve in NC

    Good report – excellent video.
    Mya looks like you found your calling “behind the camera”
    Good job on this project !

  • GreenTriumph1

    People aren’t going to like my comment but in the initial interaction I think that he was too close. They were actively using the street for a training exercise and he was in the street. He should have been allowed to film out of the street.

    • n4zhg

      Then there should have been scene tape defining the limits of the exercise area. Otherwise, it’s public access.

      • Chris

        I would have to agree, There needs to be an actively defined “exercise area” or you will have issues such as this. It can be done, you may have to simulate actions or area’s or you may need to block off streets. Either way it needs to be signed appropriately.

  • n4zhg

    So when can we expect the IA complaints and the Notice of Claim?

    • inquisitor

      …or just a good shanking.


    if you didn’t sound like a female, this might be cooler to watch

    • dickgosinya48

      Did he excite you?

  • JohnSmith112

    Technically, the officer assaulted the cameraman by being so close and using that closeness in an effort to intimidate and create fear. He should have stated that he was on a public sidewalk and felt threatened by his being so close and aggressive with him while carrying a gun and filed assault charges.

    • $910553

      It is only “assault” if the “Legal” system chooses to prosecute it as such. Whaddya think the odds of THAT are???

      • LibertyEbbs

        Or alternatively: It is only assault if ECLS says it is assault.

  • Guest

    Raises right hand: “I will support the Constitution of the United States.”

    Traitors. These police officers are almost the lowest form of scum. Their superiors who train them to be traitors and hate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are lower forms of traitorous scum. The DAs that allow all this to happen because they go along with these perjured charges and refuse to charge the police are the lowest form of traitorous scum.

  • nosepicker

    The Bundy militia should show up and see if Boston PD wants to play.

    • inquisitor

      But then I would have to place my trust in the Bundy militia.

      • nosepicker

        They have a good record of defeating law enforcement.

        • IcedTeaParty

          And terrorizing the neighborhood with dictatorial behaviors in the process.

          • n4zhg

            Those turn out to be rumors generated by the MSM.

          • IcedTeaParty

            Those turn out to be actual events confirmed by someone I know who went to Nevada to support Bundy.

          • $910553

            Seems like most of Bunkerville is fine with the Bundy family and the militia. But then I’m sure that ABCNNBCBS and their dead-tree fellow travelers would NEVER corrupt a story to spread their views…

          • IcedTeaParty

            Show your proof.

        • inquisitor

          I am highly suspicious of the entire incident regarding every one of its contrive perspectives.

          I don’t trust the government, BLM, Harry Reid, Bundy, the militia, the media or the LDS cult of which Reid and Bundy subscribe.

          The incident smells of psychological operations, covert actions, and subtle warfare subverting the country to the power of a religio-political sect.

          Those in authority within this sect are dominated by the part of the brain that is not concerned with logic or fairness, but following a warped and twisted faith-based mythos where they end up as the chosen ones over the world and mankind.

          I choose…sanity.


  • inquisitor

    It just goes to show that people who gravitate toward positions of authority tend to be the most psychologically unfit at handling that responsibility.

    These two citizen journalists are doing a good job asserting their rights while overcoming the limitations and challenges of an extra chromosome. I have to respect that.

    • dickgosinya48

      LOL. an extra chromosome. I like that.

  • Jim Morriss

    I posted this as a reply but thought it ought to go here instead

    Flash mobs w/cameras? Just pick a “target” class building. like the
    fed courthouse and pick a time and watch the fun. Especially if you can
    get the mob to dribble in a few minutes apart. LEOs would be playing
    whack-a-mole trying to question all the people. Just walk up to one and
    see another.

    Imagine the chaos this flash mob would create:

    ” @ 1130am be at the Boston Fed courthouse w/vid recorder. Please wear
    a turban and beard. just record building quietly . Ignore other

    11:30 am so lunch is screwed. I have this vision of
    the entire BPD sort of clutching their chest and falling over in shock.
    The more I think about it the funnier it gets…

    • dickgosinya48

      That would be classic.

  • Queen

    “Officer Principe remained uncomfortably close to Andrew”, My gaydar tells me Officer Principe may have been trying to form a long and loving relationship with Andrew.

  • James R. Morgan Sr

    My way of getting the officer to back off.. “Why are you this close to me.. to Intimidate me.. or are you planning on asking me for a date?”. I’d love to see his reaction.

    • buns

      Just kiss him.

      • n4zhg

        Nope, that sexual assault. You’ll get a beat down, some time in jail, and ten years on the sex offender’s list.

  • Tijuana Joe

    People, grow up. You do NOT have First Amendment rights within 2 miles
    of a drill, exercise, emergency, exigent circumstance, or problem…

    • Kirkus1964

      I don’t see that in the Constitution.

      • stk33

        from Wikipedia:

        The existence of free speech zones is based on U.S. court decisions stipulating that the government may regulate the time, place, and manner—but not content—of expression.

    • SunwolfNC

      Is there a citation or link you could provide for our knowledge? It would be good to know the specifics if you have them

    • LibertyEbbs

      Nice one. FFS, i know it is just text, but why do people here have such a tough time recognizing obvious sarcasm?

  • dickgosinya48

    Need to find some cameramen that are at least 6ft5 so this sort of thing isn’t a problem. Also, put the camera on a helmet. You did a very smart thing by bringing two cameras though. That really puts a crimp in their style.

  • Ryan French

    Funny how they invited the news media and public to observe the exercise but didn’t want people to see how they train. Also weren’t video and photographs instrumental in the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombings? I say they should have been in the middle of the exercise for some reality!

  • Mr. Wonderful

    LIke I say every time – if they don’t want the “bad guys” to see how they train, then why do it in public? Incompetent boobs.

    • Empowered

      The “bad guys” are American’s who would otherwise resist the Kool Aid and tyranny.

  • JohnLloydScharf

    Please identify the laws in your description with a Net site to refer to like:

  • LibertyEbbs

    Where in the world did this idea that an LEO can arbitrarily decide that a person they have an issue with, despite the fact that they are not breaking any laws, can be ‘ordered’ to move from a public space come from? I think it pre-dates September 11, 2001, but has definitely become more common since that fateful day.

    Listen up all you cops lurking around here: You have no authority to do this and it is a crime when you do.

    • Tijuana Joe

      I know it might sound silly ….but sometimes you need to sacrifice liberty in the name of Freedom,

      • LibertyEbbs

        Please explain.

      • NoelArmourson

        Yes, very silly.

      • DickVanstone

        “They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

        -Ben Franklin

        What you say isn’t silly. It is disturbing and Orwellian.

  • stk33

    The video offers great explanation of why the cops are afraid to be filmed. It looks like they honestly believe that their tactics are so sophisticated that they are worth studying by the “bad guys”. Oh my.

  • Ian Battles

    Does Boston need a lawsuit to bankrupt them before they get the message?

  • jonquimbly

    “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”

    $290 million -that’s Boston PD’s FY 2014 baseline budget, out of $2.6 billion for the city overall. Did the $200k even come from budget, or did insurance cover it?

    Point is, the $200k -plus what, another $200k in city attorney costs- is a beesting to them. The biggest payout I’ve heard of in a long time, and it’s had no effect, especially when you consider the ongoing War on Accountability being waged by PDs and municipalities around the country.

    PDs and city attorneys are stepping up their harassment of journalists, contrary to any expectation that they’ve “learned their lesson” from lawsuits.

    Harassment is cheap insurance against accountability, and cops love doing it! They’re already paid to be bullies, so harassing and arresting journos is a fringe benefit. It delights them, because it’s fun work and ultimately protects them by training the public to be afraid to point a camera in their direction. A win-win, from their perspective, however perverse it seems to us.

    So we have to step up our game. Organize a legal guild for photographers that files harassment complaints against cops and departments each and every time they interfere with journalists. Different from NPPA, this would be a collaboration with civil rights attorneys around the country. Just an idea.

    • dickgosinya48

      That is the ONLY way. Money speaks louder than words or principles, unfortunately.

      • jonquimbly

        PINAC Nation is already phoning PDs when they’ve falsely arrested someone, or threatened it. To step up that kind of pressure, whenever cop misconduct is alleged by a journo, from filing a complaint, up to filing lawsuits.

        That’s what will eventually get the attention of legislators and policymakers – a noticeable level of noise.

  • Empowered

    “We don’t want to the bad guys to see how we train” LOL
    You mean you don’t want American’s to see the actors your using for fear the some of us will recognize them in the upcoming “attack” event by terrorists

  • dickgosinya48

    Anyone notice how this piece of shit in Blue looks and talks like Tom Menino. Let’s hope he suffers the same fate, just a lot sooner.

  • Erik Griswold

    Carlos, the name of the publication is the The Bay State Examiner, not Bay City.

  • simpletruth

    Guess Boston is practicing for their next fake bombing…

  • Ed

    I was there. This guy attempted to walk into the middle of the training exercise, and got bent out of shape when he was asked to move back. There were plenty of other photographers there who did not experience any friction. I was there as an EMT, but I am a huge supporter of photographer’s rights. I have done emergency scene photography for almost 32 years and have had my share of run ins with police on scene. You can see my work at or look for my book, “Three Nights in Detroit” for proof of who I am. I make noise when a cop is wrong, but in this case, the “reporter” (and I use that term very loosely) was in the wrong. His actions bordered on emotionally disturbed (in the medical sense.) Do not make this guy a hero-he is one of the people making it harder for photographers, myself included, to get any access.

  • Stretchrunner147

    next time a fat pig gets in your face sneeze and cough all over him……..just make it look good on video…….then when he assaults you you have evidence he was in your space…like they whine about……

  • RandomJerk

    Those boots make him look like SS.

    Edit: a fat SS.