Max Bickford, 26, said he pulled over his moped last night and began recording with his phone after witnessing a Boston police officer tackle a man in the street then kick him in the head. This video shows the cop yelling at Bickford to move his moped, obviously upset that he was being recorded. The cop then approached Bickford and grabbed his phone away.
What happened next isn't on video, but Bickford told Photography is Not a Crime about it:
Bickford demanded his phone back and the cop eventually threw it back at him, but it ended up falling to the pavement where the screen cracked and the volume button broke off.
Bickford picked it up and tossed it to a friend, who caught it, but the cop then grabbed it back from his friend, held on to it for another minute or two before returning it to Bickford, most likely because more cops had arrived on the scene.
Bickford then pocketed the phone before the first cop and another cop moved in to handcuff him.
“They put me up against the wall, handcuffed me, then slammed me down on my ass,” he said.
The original cop then wiped blood from his arm on Bickford’s shirt, telling him, “your night’s wasted because of a …..”, stopping himself before completing his sentence.
Bickford never got the cop’s name, but he did call a lieutenant after getting home, who told him she had heard of the incident, defending the cop by saying he believed the phone contained evidence of a crime.
Photos posted at Photography is Not a Crime show the damaged phone and blood that was wiped on Bickford's shirt.
Apparently some Boston police still haven't figured out that recording the police is protected by the First Amendment even after their department settled lawsuits by Simon Glik and Maury Paulino in 2012. Or maybe they have learned (after all, BPD has a training video for this sort of thing), but they just don't care. After all, when the police settle a lawsuit, it's the taxpayers who are on the hook, not the individual officers who were responsible.
Maybe the district attorney will prosecute this case, but I wouldn't hold your breath on that.