When did it become a bad thing to give cops a little hell?
Last Sunday, a New Zealand news site ran a provocative photo of a surfer giving hell to cops brought in to police the country’s draconian no-surfing laws.
Now, the surfer, who says the upraised digit was aimed at a tabloid photographer and not the cops, says he’s been hammered with death threats against him and his family.
A west Auckland surfer says threats have been made against him and his family after the Stuff news site published a photo of him with a caption erroneously describing him as “not happy” to be spoken to by police.
In the photo, published on April 5, the man is seen holding his surfboard and giving the middle finger to the camera while being spoken to by a police officer. He says the photographer had been hounding the surfers for a while and he was unhappy with the photographer, not the police officers.
The full caption beneath the photograph reads: “A surfer is not happy to be spoken to by police for flouting lockdown rules at a West Auckland beach.”
On closer examination it is clear the surfer is not looking at the police officer standing nearby, but directly at the camera.
The man, who was photographed going for a final surf at his local beach on Sunday, says he has been threatened with being tasered, shot and hung in multiple Facebook groups and reddit threads.
“When I walked up the beach I did the fingers to the photographer skulking around the beach, thinking nothing of it. I went and spoke to the police. They were lovely and were clear with their instruction and delivered their message and I acknowledged their advice and agreed.
“We then continued to chat for about 10 minutes. That afternoon I became aware of an article on Stuff using a photo of me. The caption of the photo implied I did the fingers to the police and resisted their advice. This is not true.”
He says he has had hundreds if not thousands of “horrific” comments – many driven by one stranger online who continues to share the article in community Facebook groups throughout the country.
“Over the following hours I was made aware of the photo being shared and some pretty scary comments being made. This escalated to the point that hundreds of people were saying all sorts of nasty stuff believing I did the fingers to the police.”
More, here, although the disturbing point, I think, is, when did it become a bad thing to give cops a little hell?
Specifically, when did surfers put their own necks under the police jackboot?