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Maui Time Publisher Involved In Scuffle With Police

A bizarre incident involving a journo and police was captured on video in Hawaii. MauiTime publisher Tommy Russo was standing in a public parking lot, attempting to film Dog the Bounty Hunter and crew putting together a show, when Dog’s wife Beth Chapman became angry and had her security try to put a stop to Russo’s efforts. When Russo objected, a security guard took his phone and, Russo claims, poked him in the forehead. Russo eventually got his phone back and called 911–but then things got even weirder. While attempting to talk through the incident with police, officer Nelson Johnson struck Russo in the face and applied an armlock on the publisher for several minutes–for attempting to videotape the scene. The officer claims Russo did not have his permission to film, while Russo maintains he had the right to film in a public space under the First Amendment.

But that wasn’t the end of the dustup. After Russo posted the video online, he received dozens of supportive comments, including this one:

the MPD,, the ONLY reason I own a LARGE CALIBRE, high powered rifle.

who needs criminals with this bunch of dog eating public menances running around.

Johnson needs a bullet when he walks out his door.

Maui police have announced they consider the comment a terrorist threat, and have subpoenaed Russo to obtain the IP address of the commenter. Russo is resisting, again citing the First Amendment. His effort just received the backing of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.

The Board of Directors of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies CONDEMNS the attempt by Maui authorities to force this disclosure, and SUPPORTS the right of Maui Time and Tommy Russo to oppose this subpoena and CALLS ON the district attorney of Maui to immediately withdraw this subpoena and cease all efforts to chill the free speech rights of Maui Time readers.

More to come on this story for sure.

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