Mentally Ill Man Posts Police Threats on YouTube, Shot to Death by Cops From Three Jurisdictions Trying to Arrest Him


Joseph Pacini

52-year-old Joseph Pacini was a mentally ill YouTube user who posted videos about his love of god and a pop singer and lots of rambling videos threatening to kill police. He reportedly had an arrest warrant for threatening a detective in Haverford, Pennsylvania. An hour after he allegedly posted a video he called his "coming out party" where he said "if you want to try and bring me down I will fucking kill you and your whole fucking family all right? So go ahead and fuck with me," cops went to arrest him.

CBS News reports:

Officers went to his home in Clifton Heights Tuesday and followed him in his car as he drove to Drexel Hill. That's where officers pulled him over and boxed him in.

"He apparently used his vehicle as a weapon," Chitwood said.

As many as five officers from Clifton Heights, Upper Darby and Haverford opened fire, striking Pacini several times.

He died at the scene.

Bullets also hit the front glass door of a bank and a window to a nearby medical office.

No one else was injured.

The 52-year-old has a police record.

"In 2005 he was arrested for recklessly endangering another person, false imprisonment, terroristic threats in Philadelphia," Chitwood said.

No officers were injured during the shooting at Garrett Road and Shadeland Avenue in Drexel Hill.

Related: fatal police interactions with the mentally ill

NEXT: John Stossel: What The New York Times Gets Wrong

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Any regulars missing around here?

    1. Through a process of elimination I’ve been able to determine that Mr. Pacini is in fact Dunphy/Shriek/Mary/Tulpa/Indian, all of whom were aliases for the deceased.

      1. Was, that is.

      2. It’s going to be a great 2015!

        If only…

      3. More likely Dunphy shows up and pronounces it a good shoot.


        1. Real Dunphy hasn’t posted for a year or more.

    2. Do I count.

      BTW that’s 2 year end nut punches today. 3 more to beat the spread.

      1. When you posted your prediction on a different thread earlier, I had an idea that you would be correct. I think you’re going to make it.

    3. Present. (But what you’re trying to do there, I see it.)

      1. I knew it wasn’t you. But with the God youtube videos, it could have been someone else we all know.

          1. He doesn’t really seem like the “kill all cops” type. I know there are a good number of religious folks here, but I can’t think of who else is so in-your-face about it.

  2. “No officers were injured during the shooting at Garrett Road and Shadeland Avenue in Drexel Hill.”

    “Bullets also hit the front glass door of a bank and a window to a nearby medical office.”

    At least despite obvious carelessness and lousy marksmanship the cops managed not to shoot each other.

    1. +95 shots by a circular firing squad.

    2. I’d be curious to know if any mere proles have been charged with anything (reckless endangerment?) for spraying bullets during a self-defense shooting?

      A bullet hitting a bank, etc. is a per se violation of basic firearms handling, and certainly negligence or recklessness, it seems to me. In a true self-defense fight, I could see some flexibility. But this, again, should be a cause for concern.

  3. Provoke a potentially violent and mentally ill person, then respond with deadly force. It’s almost like they wanted a deadly encounter to occur… I think there’s a name for that, premeditated something or other.

    1. Admittedly this guy did provoke a violent and mentally ill group.

      Not that what he posted even warranted a warrant.

    2. Even the police account of this incident sounds like a summary execution for the crime of disrespecting police. Post something they don’t like on the internet and within an hour they will come over and kill you. Message received boys… Loud and clear.

    3. Captain: Your mission is to proceed up Elm Street in patrol cars. Stake out his house and if he leaves, follow him. Pull him over for some reason – do you men all have your official “Book of Bullshit Excuses”?
      Men: Yes Sir!
      Captain: We know this guy is crazy, so he’s bound to say or do something “threatening”. One of you, don’t forget to yell “He’s coming right at us”. Then terminate him.
      Officer Willard: Terminate him, sir?
      City Lawyer: Terminate… with extreme prejudice.
      Captain: He’s out there Youtubing without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of acceptable first amendment speech. And he is still out there with a computer and High Speed Internet (TM).
      City Lawyer: This meeting never happened. And don’t forget to turn off your vehicle cameras. We’ll meet here later to get our stories straight. Donuts are on the city.

  4. Very Machiavellian:

    “The Romans never allowed a trouble spot to remain simply to avoid going to war over it, because they knew that wars don’t just go away, they are only postponed to someone else’s advantage.”

  5. Thank goodness none of our “heroes” were harmed.

  6. this story must be a hoax. We all know that cops only kill innocent unarmed black men for no reason and without provocation.

    1. #thisguyslifedidntmatter

  7. Step 1. Attack victim.

    Officers went to his home in Clifton Heights Tuesday and followed him in his car as he drove to Drexel Hill. That’s where officers pulled him over and boxed him in.

    Step 2. Wait for victim to defend himself.

    “He apparently used his vehicle as a weapon,” Chitwood said.

    Step 3. Kill victim.

    As many as five officers from Clifton Heights, Upper Darby and Haverford opened fire, striking Pacini several times.

    I’m open to further evidence that Pacini’s videos were explicitly threatening and cause for arrest, but I doubt that’s the case. This was straight up murder.

  8. The old ‘tried to use his vehicle as a weapon’ line has the same effect on me as the ‘I was raped at a frat party’ line now has. Too many examples of it being a transparent lie. I have heard it used to justify a shooting dozens of times and only two or three were credible.

    If they boxed him in then how were his actions a danger to their lives?

    1. It’s boilerplate. Like “eyes were red and bloody” on a DUI report. If they shoot someone in a vehicle, then they’re going to say it was used as a weapon. Regardless of if it is the truth or not.

      1. Furtive movements, menacing, waistband, aggressive barking, weapons discharged while procedures were followed

      2. It’s right up there with “attacked by pit bull mix” and “could smell marijuana in the car”.

    2. Notice how they always keep shooting until they are sure their victim is dead? You NEVER hear of one of these guys surviving.

      Wouldn’t want anyone to be able to contradict the narrative.

      1. I seem to remember someone surviving once. Of course he got hit by like 9 out of 52 shots and was in critical condition. But miracles do happen.

        1. In the case of the North Hollywood shoot out, one of the shooters survived being shot…the cops just allegedly delayed bringing in the ambulance, so he bled out.

          1. Delaying medical care seems to be a significant contributing factor to death in many of these cases.

            1. It’s deliberate.

            2. “delaying medical care?”

              No, no, no! What we have here is….failure to communicate…

              1. Listen, you shoot someone you call your union rep, I think we all know that is the proper procedure.

          2. I have no problem with how that was handled.

            Actual victims (a dozen or so) needed ambulances too, and in my world, they get them before the shooter.

  9. Is there any reason why this can’t be described as “Hunting down and killing someone who posted an apparent threat to the police”?

    This may have been where this guy’s road was leading, regardless. But the way it went down, I dunno . . . .

    1. That’s exactly what it was.

      In the Daily Fail there have been several stories of people being arrested for such threats on social media.

      Threaten a non-cop on social media and the police will say their hands are tied unless the person acts on the threat.

      Threaten the cops on social media and they’ll hunt you down and arrest you. Resist in the slightest and they’ll kill you.

      And nothing else will happen.

  10. With that many cop cars, there must be some dashcam video? Perhaps an intrepid reporter can find out if any of the three PDs in on this have them? And if so, where’s the footage?

    1. This is definitely one of those cases where if the video does not support the official record, then it will be “lost.” Count on it.

    2. In a Lois Lerneresque stroke of luck, all 15 dashcams malfunctioned during the shooting.
      During the post-shooting victory party, Police Patrolman’s Union spokesman Biff Cupcheck surmised that the cameras were likely affected by so much brilliance converging in such a small space.

  11. Same as it ever was …..

    Notice the bit about the cops claiming “he was preparing to run them over” before they gunned him down. Of course CBS changes this this to “trying to run them over”. If he had actually even managed to even get the car into drive, you know the police would have been all over the “trying to run us over” line as well. As it was, he was “preparing to run us over” which means he likely was not moving towards them.

    Most likely series of events: He backed up away from them and hit a cop car, and the panicking idiots began to spray bullets in his general direction executing him

    1. “spray bullets”

      Yeah, apparently they hit several offices near by, so “spray” is a good description of it.

      Honestly, do these guys get any weapons training at all? Any? How do you try to shoot someone in a vehicle and miss the vehicle entirely? Ricochets maybe, but that’s giving a lot of benefit of the doubt.

      1. Say what you will about Oakland cops (and you can say A LOT), at least they are trained to actually handle mentally-ill people without violence or even arresting them. If somebody is having a potentially-violent episode on the street, Oakland cops will show up, attempt to talk him down, restrain him only if necessary, and… call an ambulance. Amazing.

        I’ve seen it happen a couple times (of course, these were in the nicer areas of Oakland; it might be different elsewhere).

        1. Handling mentally-ill people and domestic violence situations should be where they receive the vast majority of their training in most jurisdictions.

  12. he was probably just heading to redbox to rent this http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1924435/

  13. I feel safer already knowing that so many police officers had the time to not-murder a crazy a person.

  14. No video and or audio footage I am assuming.

    1. Sniper rifles, BDU’s, bulletproof glass in police cars, and MRAPs are all more important than silly cameras. And physical fitness, that isn’t important either. Gosh.

    2. No video and or audio footage I am assuming.

      [performs hard reboot of dashcam]


  15. no apostrophe in BDU! Silly poster…

  16. The guy was mentally ill with an apparent history of violent behavior. Which begs a couple questions: (1) why wasn’t he institutionalized well before getting to the point of being homicided by police? (2) why aren’t the cops in that jurisdiction trained to handle potentially-violent mentally ill people?

    And, really, was there any reason to try to arrest him when he was driving? Was he driving in a dangerous manner that demanded immediate intervention? Why not wait until he was not in his car or something?

    1. ^This^

      Why not get some of his family members to help you intervene? Or if they are unwilling, why not go get a shrink to help defuse all of this?

      Actually, that was just Judge Napalitano talk. I know why they did it the way they did it. Because FYTW.

    2. And, really, was there any reason to try to arrest him when he was driving?

      It sets up the “used his vehicle as a weapon” story line.

  17. Seems like they were just looking for an excuse to nail this guy.

    But let’s assume for the sake of argument that he did make a legitimately criminal threat and they did have good cause to arrest him.

    I assume that “boxed in” means boxed in by police cars. I don’t see how someone in a car, not obviously armed, is an immanent threat to their life or safety if the car is surrounded by police cars. Unless they are too fucking fat to get out of the way if he starts ramming one of their cars or something. Unless the driver has room to get some speed up and a clear shot, the vehicle-as-weapon thing seems like bullshit.

    1. Precedent has been set for the cops to murder the driver of a vehicle if the vehicle moves an inch after being ordered to stop.

      So if the cops want to murder someone, they can easily enough set up the scenario that allows them to wax their carrot.

  18. Only have time to check the picture. Jonathan Gruber threatened the cops on Facebook and was gunned down in response?

  19. As far as I can tell, its unlikely that the cops who killed this guy saw the YouTube video since it was posted an hour before his arrest. More likely, they were trying to arrest him for the warrant and panicked because the guy was mentally ill and potentially violent. But that still leaves a lot of questions.

    1. Why were cops from three different jurisdictions trying to serve a simple arrest warrant? That should require 2 guys in one car at the most.

    2. Why are they not fired for having piss poor aim and self control?

    3. Why not wait until he got out of the car?

    4. If they had decided beforehand to execute this guy on the side of the road, how would any of their actions been different?

    1. 1. Because FYTW
      2. Because FYTW.
      3. Because FYTW.
      4. Nothing would have been different. Funny, that.

  20. Yes, there are many questions about this. Many questions.

    None of which will ever be answered. Because everybody who matters went home safe at the end of their shift, amirite? Hell, we should be happy that the “spray and pray” didn’t collect any more victims.

    1. Spray and pray is what soldiers do when they truly risk their lives.

      Cops spray, but they don’t pray. They’re not in any real danger. They’re just murdering someone. If anything they pray that they don’t hit one of their fellow officers. They might get in trouble for that. But hitting bystanders? That’s not their fault. It’s the fault of the person they are murdering. They don’t give a shit about that.

  21. I so wish that this report was “shocking!”

  22. Well, what a fitting end to the year. #BlueLivesMatter And ONLY blue lives.

    Fuck. Tha. Poe. Lease.

  23. my best friend’s step-sister makes $76 hourly on the internet . She has been fired from work for five months but last month her check was $15869 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    have a peek at this web-site…………….. http://www.netjob70.com

  24. So police really are a pack of predators, circling the herd, to pick off the sickly, lame, aged, and young.

  25. For a second I thought the mentally-ill man was Jonathan Gruber.

    Everything about this sounds messed up. It’s very likely the cops were all too eager to kill this guy, but it also sounds like he was looking for a suicide-by-cop.

  26. A new version of SBC: Threaten the police via social-media and get the same result that you would if you confronted them with a weapon.
    As they say: The pen is mightier than the sword!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.