UMass Cop Threatens Student Recording Arrests

UMass Cop Threatens Student Recording Arrests October 20, 2011

Despite a federal court ruling explicitly saying that recording the police while they perform their duties is protected in Massachusetts, the police at the University of Massachusetts obviously don’t care. When a student tried to record them breaking up a brawl, he was threatened with violence:

“Shut that fucking thing off before I slap you!”

Those are the words that UMass Lowell student Brendan Brown heard shortly after he trained his cell phone camera on several campus police officers last Saturday.

He decided to shut it off rather than end up beaten up or arrested. Hard to blame him. Here’s the video:


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  • Gregory

    Nothing scares the cockroaches more than a bright light.

  • erikbray

    This is sort of unsurprising. I went to UMass, and while by and large I personally had decent experiences with the police (though not always), I think that by and large they utterly despise the student population.

    And to an extent it’s easy to see why. There’s a large segment of the student population there (much of it in the “Southwest” dorms, though certainly not limited there) who are just utterly insane. There have been numerous riots (all over sports games, whether their team wins or loses) in which police officers have been injured for no good reason. Once a gallon jug of water almost hit the chief of police from a 5th story window.

    That said, there’s no excuse for this, and I think this student should press charges if he can find out who the officer was. Police don’t have the right to threaten assault like that.

  • I’m sure if it had been a student threatening the cop the officer would have written it off as student hijinks and not arrested the student for threatening an officer. Right?

  • Artor

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a threat of violence from someone with the means to carry it out and the likelihood of doing so considered assault? It would be nice to see cops who have no respect for citizen’s constitutional rights brought up on charges. We can’t have violent assholes freely violating the law like this. It needs to stop, not now, but yesterday.

  • LightningRose

    I firmly believe that people have the right to use deadly force to defend themselves from armed police who are engaged in any illegal behavior.

    A constitutional amendment recognizing such would certainly bring about the “new professionalism” that Justice Scalia so stupidly believes in.

  • graey


    The Indiana Supreme Court did just the opposite: they ruled that you specifically have no right to defend yourself if the police illegally break into your house.

    From the wording, it may be saying you can’t even say, “no.”

  • Vall

    Can a citizen arrest a policeman that is commiting a crime?

    I’ve always heard of “citizen’s arrest” but it may be a movie thing.

  • @Vall Anyone who tries to hold a cop to the letter of the law has a long and dirty battle ahead. If a person tried to arrest a cop for doing something illegal, they’d likely get their head caved in. At the least, they’d get thrown on the ground and roughed up and arrested, probably on felony charges. The police prefer to have a monopoly on the notion of “justice.”

  • Vall

    Thanks. And I agree, I certainly wouldn’t suggest it.

    I think the best to hope for would be another cop nearby not letting him get away with it. Like in this UMass case, surely one of those cops knows it’s not illegal to film.