Connecticut man says threat to police in comment on VPD body cam footage was actually satire
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man charged with threatening to shoot police on social media said Thursday that the posting was a satirical response to a video showing what he called police misconduct in Valdosta, Georgia.
Alexander Hassinger, 24, was arrested at his Newtown home Wednesday evening on harassment and breach of peace charges.
State police said Hassinger posted the threat earlier in the day on Twitter, writing “imma kill a cop today and when they ask my why I did it, imma tell them he was acting nervous and looked at me wrong.” Someone in Virginia reported the post, officials said.
Hassinger told The Associated Press the posting was made in jest in response to a police body camera video he saw on the internet.
“I’m speaking my mind on the internet, but I’m not doing anything wrong,” he said. “It seems weird because it seems like I should have freedom of speech.”
Hassinger said he had no actual plans to shoot police and he has no guns. He was released on $10,000 bail and was ordered to appear in Waterbury Superior Court on July 15.
The police body camera video shows a white officer in Valdosta, Georgia, in February throw Antonio Arnelo Smith, who is Black, to the ground while trying to handcuff him during a “suspicious activity” investigation. An officer told Smith there was a warrant for his arrest, but another officer said the person with the warrant was already detained. Police uncuffed Smith and allowed him to leave the scene.
Smith is suing Valdosta police for $700,000, saying officers used excessive force, broke his left wrist and violated his constitutional rights, the Valdosta Daily Times reported. Valdosta officials said they cannot comment on pending litigation.
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.