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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

In which we enter the alternative universe in which police always believe dreadlocked individuals 

I previously raised the question about whether Interference Inc. was prompt in letting the authorities know that the so-called bombs in Boston weren't bombs.

Now a new question has been raised - was Peter Berdovsky prompt in letting Interference Inc. know that the guerilla marketing campaign had gone sour? And should he have informed the on-scene officers that there was nothing to worry about?

The issue was raised because Berdovsky videotaped police at a (supposed) bomb site. This is what the Associated Press said:

One of the men criminally charged after placing blinking cartoon advertisements around the city videotaped a police bomb squad removing one of the electronic devices, but did not tell the officers the object was harmless.

Surveillance cameras caught 27-year-old Peter Berdovsky videotaping officers removing what they thought was a possible bomb.

But Walter Prince, Berdovsky's new layer (replacing semi-guardian Michael Rich), puts a different spin on the whole thing:

Prince said Berdovsky had received a call that morning from a friend who told him there was a bomb threat at the Sullivan Square transit station in Boston. He said Berdovsky grabbed his camera and headed out to the scene, unaware it involved one of the electronic devices that he and Sean Stevens, 28, had hung....

"That's what he does. He videotapes things. He's a videotape freelance artist. He got a call that there was a bomb threat near his house and he went to tape it," Prince said. "When he got there, he realized what was going on, and he went back to his apartment and called his employer, and they told him they would take care of it. That's not an inappropriate response."

Even asuming that Berdovsky immediately called Interference Inc., some people still aren't happy with what Berdovsky did or didn't do:

Every time the general public begins to soften a bit regarding their plight, new revelations of astoundingly selfish behavior emerge. Now, we're told Berdovsky and Stevens actually videotaped authorities detonating their cartoon devices from the scene...

So, in the view of these people, Berdovsky should have dropped his video camera and immediately informed the police about the whole situation. I'm trying to imagine what that would look like...

(dream sequence music)

OFFICER JONES: Be careful as you approach that thing. No idea what it is.

OFFICER SMITH: Yeah, who knows what those wires lead to?

OFFICER JONES: And I don't like the fact that it's giving me the finger.


OFFICER JONES: Who's that guy in dreadlocks that's yelling at us?

OFFICER SMITH: Stand back, sir! This is a potentially dangerous situation.

PASSERBY: No it isn't.

OFFICER JONES: A potential bomb in the middle of the city is definitely a dangerous situation.

PASSERBY: It's not a bomb!

OFFICER SMITH: We don't know what it is yet, so we have to take precautions. Now stand back.

PASSERBY: It's not a bomb! It's a promotional display.

OFFICER JONES: Yes, a promotional display that just happens to be in a crowded city and just happens to be electronically wired. Move back, son.

PASSERBY: It's a promotional display for the TV show Aqua Teen Hunger Force. It's been up for three weeks now. It's not a bomb.

OFFICER SMITH: Aqua Teen Hunger Force? Are you on drugs, son?

PASSERBY: My friend and I set them up over the last few weeks. We got paid three hundred bucks each. They're all over the city.

OFFICER JONES: Did you say these devices are all over the city?

PASSERBY: Yeah. A few dozen of them.

OFFICER SMITH: We need backup! Get Homeland Security! Boston's about to blow!

(chaos ensues - end dream sequence music)

In other words, it's very doubtful that a cop would have believed a dreadlocked guy who claimed that the devices were not bombs.

Too bad.

P.S. Some other comments on the latest. From Media Log (this is the amended version):

Today's Herald story reporting that Peter Berdovsky...videotaped law enforcement's Mooninite freak-out is a great scoop, assuming it holds up. Nice work by Michele McPhee.

That said, I'm puzzled by the "high-ranking BPD official" who claimed that this videotaping provides the proof of "intent" that prosecutors need to make their case. Here's the quote in question:

"The minute they knew that police officers were racing across the city, firefighters were racing to the scene, and bomb techs were suiting up, and they did not call 911 [sic]. That--that forms intent. Their being there could provide the proof of intent prosecutors need."...

I'm no attorney, but on a common-sense level, this doesn't necessarily work.

And from Reality Checks:

Can you believe that this won't even be settled until MARCH 7?!!! Turner can buy [itself] out right away but these guys continue to be Stupid Boston officials' scapegoats And I repeat, STUPID! Just watch these press conferences these idiots have and try to figure out with me how these guys got voted into office. And just think, Turner stated in [its] buyout deal that [it] should be given all the blame. And these guys continue to be held hostage!

I'm sure there will be more conversation all over the map on this one.

Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater

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