Cops to HuffPost Reporter: “Put your Fucking Hands up!”

Twenty four hours in nearby Boston.

HuffPost‘s media story on and by two reporters, Christina Wilkie and Michael McLaughlin, covering the Boston crime scene stories last Thursday read like a potential NYT travel story: “36 Hours in Cambridge and Watertown.”

Where to eat? Aside from adrenalin, keep your energy up with water, brown-bag lunches and Boston Kreme donuts courtesy of the Massachusetts State Police.

Where to stay? There are a few terrible options. 1. In a shopping mall parking lot with the rest of the press. More specifically, a white rented Hyundai. 2. Stay within the designated press areas unless you want to be held at gunpoint by police officers. This happened to HuffPost‘s Christina Wilkie, who learned fast that leaving the group of media covering the story was a very bad idea.

Where to sleep? Sleep? There will be no sleep.

Wifi quality: Somewhere between awful and wretched. From HuffPost writers: “Battery power was carefully rationed for phones and laptops, and drained at an alarming speed.”

What not to miss: Drunks getting too close to the crime scene. They make for good pictures and anecdotes as they were heard cursing and spotted being cuffed and shoved to the ground.

Adventure seekers: Clearly, Watertown. This is where Wilkie strayed by a matter of feet from the rest of the media. This is when all hell broke loose as evidenced by the below anecdote from the story.

An excerpt:

Reporters quickly learned that leaving the group was a bad idea. Along an unbarricaded side street, an officer spotted Wilkie. “Put your hands up!” he yelled. “Put your f***ing hands up!” She did. “Now get outta here. Run!”She did.

We asked Wilkie for more context on what happened before police screamed at her. She told FishbowlDC, “At that point in the night, about 1:45AM, there were about a dozen reporters and cameramen loosely assembled at the edge of the yellow crime scene tape stretched along Nichols Ave at the corner of Nichols and Quimby Streets in Watertown. There was no police tape along Quimby, just a few locals milling around on the sidewalk, so I walked about 30 feet down Quimby St. to see what was going on.”

You don’t want to miss what happens next.

“That’s when an officer standing a block away saw me and shouted,” Wilkie explained to FBDC. “It took me a second to realize it was me he was yelling at, but that second was enough for him to yell again, more forcefully. I had my phone in my hand, but knew better than to try to put it in my coat pocket. I threw my hands up and dropped it from about 6 feet onto the pavement. He pointed a flashlight at me and told me leave. When he said “run,” I dropped to the ground, grabbed it, and ran back to the group.

“I later learned that law enforcement was being instructed to turn off their phones inside the perimeter, for fear the signals could detonate an explosive.”

Read the story here. Photo credit:

Publish date: April 22, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT