Protestor Charged With Bomb Threat

by TChris

Freedom of speech means freedom to protest -- except in Westwood, Massachusetts, where Joseph Previtera Jr. was arrested for engaging in an act of "street theater." Previtera stood on a milk crate outside a Military Recruiting Center wearing a hood and shawl, with wires dangling from his outstretched hands -- copying a photo released in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. He was hoping to give potential recruits a different perspective on war than they were likely to receive from the recruiter.

The police responded by arresting Previtera for disturbing the peace, making a false bomb threat and possession of a hoax device. But Previtera said nothing about a bomb; in fact, silence was part of his protest, making it difficult to understand how the peace was disturbed by anyone other than the police, who brought in the bomb squad and taped off the area around Previtera before taking him into custody.

The wires constituted the "hoax device," and the "threat," according to the police, was implied, not stated: although the wires weren't attached to anything, a complete idiot may have been able to imagine that they had something to do with a bomb. Previtera isn't a violent man, but the police who arrested him for exercising his right to protest did violence to the First Amendment.

< Iraq to Reinstate the Death Penalty | Terry Nichols' Jury is Out of Alternates >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort: