“Do You Want Me To Throw It on the Ground?”

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

This was first posted to YouTube last summer, but has gone viral in the last 24 hours after someone posted it to Reddit. The Reddit post says it’s set in Wildwood, New Jersey, and begins as police are writing a guy a ticket for wearing a t-shirt with profanity. I can’t find a news account of the incident to verify that.

What is clear is that the officers are harassing a man who is legally recording the incident from a distance that in no way physically interferes with what the police are doing. One officer threatens to destroy his camera if he doesn’t put it away. Toward the end, several more officers confront the man again. One of them then tells him he’ll be “locked up” for disobeying an order unless he stops recording.

I’ve sent an email to the user who posted the video and left a message with the Wildwood police department to see what has happened since.

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47 Responses to ““Do You Want Me To Throw It on the Ground?””

  1. #1 |  overgoverned | 

    Four cops for a t-shirt with a poo-poo word on it. Dear Wildwood City Council: you can afford some police layoffs.

  2. #2 |  Law Prof | 

    Doesn’t the First Amendment apply in New Jersey?

    I’ve managed to avoid NY and NJ “like a plague” for 65 years, I guess I’ll keep it up.

  3. #3 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Nice that the cops are behind the times so much that they are dramatically losing this generation as fans. And they are creating new material every day. The Internet is filling up with their documented abuse. Keep it up cops.

  4. #4 |  Irving Washington | 

    OK, I know it’s wrong to judge people on the basis of their appearance, but that poor cop is not helped by looking like Clancy Wiggam.

  5. #5 |  Anthony | 

    Is it just me or is every argument or statement police make include fallacy of repetition?

    Interfering with an “investigation”? Are they consulting their pocket constitutions?

  6. #6 |  primus | 

    Is you is or is you ain’t a THUG?

  7. #7 |  Dave Krueger | 

    A few years from now, we’ll be talking about the good ol’ days when you could record cops without getting any prison time.

  8. #8 |  Tweets that mention “Do You Want Me To Throw It on the Ground?” | The Agitator -- Topsy.com | 

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Charles Davis and Criminal Justice, FoxArtCultTech. FoxArtCultTech said: “Do You Want Me To Throw It on the Ground?” http://goo.gl/fb/6bLax […]

  9. #9 |  bear | 

    NJ is a ~one~ party consent state, fwiw. Public area, public servant, and public business not withstanding.

    I’d love to see this encounter except for the citizen (backed up by a posse) replying:

    “You ain’t taking me any where bitch. And get your hand out of my fucking face before I take you down in self defense and prevent you from further assaulting me or any other citizens in the vicinity.

    You see that line of citizens recording your every move! There are hundreds of us. Now move along thug, and don’t let us catch you obstructing justice, violating rights, or intimidating a citizen again tonight. Understood! I said: is that UNDERSTOOD bitch. Good! Now get the fuck out of my face!!!!”

    (^ not the first time I’ve though this through ;-), sad, eh?)


  10. #10 |  cApitalist | 

    Mr. Balko, I just saw this on Reddit and was about to forward the video to you. Thanks for posting it.

    The true nature of the state and its thugs is revealed. I’m curious what everyone thinks the cameraman should have done. Done as he was told? Refused? Immediately called an attorney? What if the situation had been more dire (the kid with the poo-poo t-shirt was being assaulted instead of just bullied)?

    Additionally, if one uses programs like Qik, which upload video to the net in real time, destroying the camera does not destroy the video. You can’t stop the signal…

  11. #11 |  Judas Peckerwood | 

    I grew up on the Jersey Shore, and I can tell you that shore town cops are the worst –– especially in the summer, when the tourist towns hire on a bunch of temps who can’t meet even the low mental and psychological requirements for landing a full-time LEO job.

  12. #12 |  SJE | 

    Bear: what do you mean? NJ leans DEM, but has a GOP Governor.

  13. #13 |  Highway | 

    SJE, one-party consent means that it’s legal to record a conversation in audio and video if a single party in that conversation consents to the recording. This is as opposed to two-party consent laws that require both parties in a conversation to consent to a recording.

  14. #14 |  Brian Despain | 

    SJE – Bear is talking about the right to record conversations. A one party consent means that only a single party needs to consent to the recording. He wasn’t talking about political parties.

  15. #15 |  David | 

    The guy gets ticketed for wearing a shirt with profanity, yet the cop curses

  16. #16 |  bear | 

    I was wondering ~what you meant?~ by asking what I mean, SJE? The reply’s following clarify. I wasn’t making any reference to political party composition of the state.

    Sorry for confusion.

    After further consideration, the one party consent status of Jers is probably irrelevant to the encounter (unless the naughty t-shirt guy was a pal) as the videographer is not a conversant until he is assaulted by law enforcement.

    Still public place, public servant, and public business should be enough, although I’m not certain of the relevant laws in Jers to this situation.


  17. #17 |  Philadelphia Riviera | 

    Wildwood, NJ cops acting up. Hmmmmm. I am shocked, shocked by this behavior.

    Many Wildwood summer cops are those asshole school teachers who liked to enforce the rules and masterbate under their desks when they held kids in detention. They do wanacop duties as a summer gig.

    Did I mention they like to have sex with police dogs?

  18. #18 |  Philadelphia Riviera | 

    The link to my name is fun too. Police professionalism and Wildwood.

  19. #19 |  Judi | 

    Old ‘fat boy’ needs to be ‘thrown on the ground’. He’d make a wonderful doormat.

  20. #20 |  Philadelphia Riviera | 

    The mayor of Wildwood is not much better. Fish rot from the head first.

  21. #21 |  Philadelphia Riviera | 

    Wildwood is the worse town in New Jersey to live in.

    That is saying a lot given that New Jersey has cities and towns like Camden, Newark and Paterson.

  22. #22 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    I’m 50. I’ve been something of a screwball all my life (with the cheerful support of my Parents and Wife who were/are also screwballs). I’ve hung with junkies, and gone to SF cons and New Age and Pagan gatherings. I’ve wandered through the core of Baltimore on foot at 4am. With a single exception my encounters with LEOs have all been reasonable and often been pleasant. I feel very lucky.

    The exception was an officer from a small mid-Jersey force with a serious Napoleon complex. The town detested him, his fellow officers detested him, and the only thing keeping him from being fired like shot from a gun was the union to which he belonged.

    Now, having said all this, I don’t doubt that the encounters Mr. Balko posts here happen, and happen pretty much as described. There is something seriously wrong with the government(s) of this country on all levels, and this is a symptom. We need to introduce to LEOs, (un)civil servants, officials both elected and appointed, and a wide swath of other buttinskis and swine the notion that THEY work for US, not the other way around.

    It is to be hoped that this introduction can be done at the ballot box. The other alternatives are so messy.

  23. #23 |  Tom Bux | 

    Glenn Beck was talking the other day about the “war on police” where he said that police deaths are on the rise and that there is a war on the police.

    Now, I am in no way saying that it is every right to gun for a cop, but whenever cops die in the line of duty it is always mentioned, but how many times to innocents die at the hands of police, are assaulted, or have citizens rights trampled. It’s never mentioned.

  24. #24 |  Ed Dunkle | 

    I think the average cop in California makes more than the average college professor (or close to it.) Why can’t we simply hire college graduates to be cops? I’m sure there would be plenty of takers, and maybe a few more cops who understand abstract ideas like rights.

  25. #25 |  Marty | 

    even with degrees, cops are power freaks right now. until the federal grants are taken away, there are too many incentives not to want a swat team, dwi checkpoint, seat belt checkpoint, drug and gang teams, etc. the fundamental policies need to change.

  26. #26 |  Uncle Jimbo | 

    Why don’t we organize a National Film the Cops Day? Make it nationwide and have people film every cop doing everything they see them doing. When they start pushing back have people remind them, they have no right to stop the filming (local laws obviously being applicable). Then see how many hassles happen and regardless, make a good point reminding them who works for who.


    Uncle J

  27. #27 |  SJE | 

    Sorry bear, my brain fart.

    The behavior of the cops is particularly galling in a one party consent state. Over here in MD, a two-party consent state, I am so glad that the courts threw out the most recent “recording a cop” law suit.

  28. #28 |  EH | 

    Additionally, if one uses programs like Qik, which upload video to the net in real time, destroying the camera does not destroy the video.

    My strategy is to always say that this is what’s happening if someone has that much of a problem, regardless of whether I’m using Qik at the time or not (and in this situation I would be sure to). “Go ahead and smash the camera, the video is already on the internet.” Doughboy would shit purple Twinkies.

  29. #29 |  Rich | 

    In nj towns the cops show up at town council meetings in mass and in uniform when a vote concerning them comes up with arms crossed standing and hovering over the citezens who would not dare say boo about them
    Nj cops make and break mayors.
    That being said, in this case No victim No crime if this immigrant chose not to make a complaint then thats his business.
    The servant is not supposed to tell his master what his masters rights are. It is the masters duty to adress his servant and make clear his rights.
    This is the chain of comand, Me taxpayer,mayor ,cheif ,your supervisor
    I have nothing to discuss with you the servant I will be making a complaint with your supervisor in fact get Him NOW.
    But this guy chose to be a sheep.

  30. #30 |  SJE | 

    #28: “Go ahead and smash the camera, the video is already on the internet.” Doughboy would shit purple Twinkies.

    EH, I don’t think that’s a good idea.
    1. There could be an error in recording or transmitting.
    2. The cops might subpoena Qik etc and find ways to destroy the evidence, or “revise” their statements
    3. The cop might put you in jail for recording, contempt of cop, etc, immediately. If you are going to piss off a cop, you better have a plan B.

    Far better to wait, and then see what the cops do and say. Call your family, and make sure that copies of the confrontation are recorded, and are saved to multiple sites in different jurisdictions (e.g. not just on your computer, in your house). If its bad, send to a journalist or lawyer, making it very hard for cops to get it.

    If the cops think there isnt evidence agains them, they will make all sorts of statements, including those in court. If they do, they might fudge the facts, or find someone else to corroborate.

    However, once they have MADE statements, it becomes very difficult to change the story, especially if it official records, or sworn in court.
    When you pull out the video, contradicting their story, they are placed in a difficult situation. More importantly, their commanders are placed in a difficult situation. THAT is worth several boxes of purple twinkies.

  31. #31 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    #30 | SJE | January 29th, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    “2. The cops might subpoena Qik etc and find ways to destroy the evidence, or “revise” their statements”

    You touch on something really important here – the need for offshore hosting services in countries that are apathetic to the aims of this one.

  32. #32 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    New TV Show idea: New Jersey Shore Nazis

    Wonder if Snooki is available for a cameo.

  33. #33 |  Shadowguv | 

    City of Wildwood Mission Statement

    “To provide the highest quality of service to all persons equally in the most efficient, cost-effective and professional manner possible…”


    Looks like these Officers need retraining on their mission statement. Exactly what rule of law do they think we live under? That just because a cop barks an illegal order that citizens must comply? This was pure and simple and act of intimidation, specifically designed to create fear and force the lawful party to withdraw.

    Every single one of those cops should be fired. Their supervisors should be fired. The Chief should be fired.

  34. #34 |  SJE | 

    #32: yep. How do you justify 4 cops arresting one man for wearing a T-shirt that says a bad word, and then intimidating a camera man. Is this “cost effective” or “professional”

  35. #35 |  Johnny Yuma | 

    “OK, I know it’s wrong to judge people on the basis of their appearance, but that poor cop is not helped by looking like Clancy Wiggam.”

    Good call on Wiggum. Here’s who I thought of right away:


  36. #36 |  cApitalist | 

    Here’s another useful app. It displays a blank screen while you document the tax feeder’s crimes:


  37. #37 |  SJE | 

    #31: Taking it out of the local jurisdiction should be fine most of the time, since most of the worst SWAT etc tactics are from local police. If its hot, or state police, you want to get it out of state or at least to as many people as possible, because its very hard to confiscate from so many people. Remember, however, that if they get your computer, they will be able to determine who got what information.

    If you give it to a lawyer or a journalist with a strong media company or good reputation, the police will have a very hard time getting to it, as their are long recognized protections.

    Sending it out of the country would be safe. Of course, if its a federal matter, they might find some espionage statute!

  38. #38 |  Rob Robertson | 

    @SJE: “Far better to wait,…”

    No way. Put it out there *immediately*. Let someone see it, download it, repost it, whatever; just get it out there. Start from the initial premise that it is the right and just thing to do, and let the response from the State stand as its own defense, or its own indictment.

  39. #39 |  mcmillan | 

    Other example of cops misbehaving, this time in Atlanta. They’re accused of sexually assaulting some people while looking for drugs that weren’t there. But don’t worry, the police chief says we “can be assured that we’re going to do everything we can to get to the truth”

    And apparently these same cops were involved in a SWAT raid to stop a gay bar from having guys dancing in skimpy shorts that lead to everyone in the bar getting searched.

  40. #40 |  mcmillan | 

    Gah, looks like I screwed up my second link

  41. #41 |  Cyto | 

    #39 | mcmillan | – I was going to comment on the same line. This is so transparently false as to be insulting. If they really were “going to do everything we can to get to the truth”, they would already have the truth. How long does it take to interview 4 people and look over the police statements? A half-day?

  42. #42 |  New Jersey’s “Finest” Terrorists « | 

    […] Via The Agitator […]

  43. #43 |  derfel cadarn | 

    Maybe when Johnny Law Jr. and his playmates grows up and their brains develop they will realize that their actions are even stupider then they themselves appear.

  44. #44 |  greg | 

    is that Donkey Lips?

  45. #45 |  Brian | 

    A strategy I’ve used is to hold the phone/camera in such a way that it looks like you’re doing something else with it (e.g., texting with your phone, or just hold the camera at your side if it is a DSLR that can record video). The video portion isn’t going to be framed as nicely, obviously. But at least you manage the audio without drawing attention to yourself.

  46. #46 |  Aaron | 

    What ever happened to your follow up inquiries?

  47. #47 |  Steve H. | 

    What this is called in the law is a Prior Restraint. Let me explain this as if I was 2 years old. I was compiling a story for publication on Government activities. Government did not like the content of my story. Government restrained me from completing my story under the threat of imprisonment. This is called a Prior Restraint. This is the most serious transgression against the 1st Amendment. My historians and legal scholars will tell you that prior restraint was the reason for the 1st Amendment in the United States.

    In England, prior to the Declaration of Independence, the English government required all publishers to buy a license from the King. If you published something the government didn’t like, you lost your license and government agents burned down the printing press. So, the founding fathers wanted to make sure that there would never be a prior restraint on publications in the US. In the history of the US, the SCOTUS has never upheld a prior restraint, even if the government said that publishing would amount to a clear and present danger to the US or even if the material was obtained illegally.

    This guy could file his own lawsuit in Federal court and win big bucks, just on the basis of the prior restraint argument.