Civil Liberties

Boston Charges "Photography is Not a Crime" Activist with Felony Witness Intimidation for Publishing a Public Information Officers' Work Phone Number, Suggesting Maybe People Use It


The lead up to this classic case of police intimidation is a long convoluted story, told in detail at Carlos Miller's Photography is Not a Crime blog, involving a case of a Boston cop roughing up someone videotaping him in public. 

The investigation into that case led to an associate of Miller's, Taylor Hardy, being charged with violating wiretapping statues for allegedly taping a conversation on the phone with Angelene Richardson, a Boston police public information officer. Hardy insists he did tell her he was taping. (He had posted on YouTube, but since taken down, a portion of their taped conversation.)

Miller now explains:

When Hardy informed me had received the notice of complaint from the Boston Police Department, ordering him to attend a hearing in front of a magistrate judge, I wrote about it on this site, encouraging readers to call Richardson and ask her to drop the complaint.

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After all, as a media spokeswoman, she should understand that all conversations with the media, unless other stated, are on the record. In fact, she should insist reporters record her comments to ensure accuracy.

That led to numerous PINAC readers calling Richardson, which obviously is something that unsettles this public information officer, suggesting that perhaps she is in the wrong line of work.

And that led to Detective Moore filing a criminal complaint against me for witness intimidation, which I received Friday and is posted below, claiming that I caused Richardson all kinds of pain and grief because I posted her publicly available work contact info on my blog.

He also threatened to charge any readers who called her, making me think that perhaps the Boston Police Department is recording all incoming calls because how else would they gather the evidence to charge my readers for witness intimidation?

Richardson's office number is on the Boston police department's public web site. She's a public information officer. Encouraging people to call her and giving our her number is a felony in the Boston police department's mind, because she has previously decided to use her powers to file a complaint to intimidate a journalist.

Honestly, once we know and understand that "the police are our friends," what other questions would there be to ask, really?

Reason on Carlos Miller. Our January 2011 Radley Balko Reason classic on "The War on Cameras."