Threat or free speech?

June 26, 2008 9:08:11 PM PDT
"When you shoot the cops, you shoot them dead!" It is a vicious message. In this YouTube video, Andre Moore demonstrates how to use a colt .275 to shoot cops. The Einstein Medical security guard goes on to say he specifically hates the police in the 18th district.

"We lost three officers in this city to guns. It's outrageous for him to be promoting this message," says Thomas Burke, of the Pennsylvania Gun Violence Task Force.

Action News Reporter David Henry spoke to Moore's angry wife through her door.

"I am very upset at him. Very angry. Why did he jeopardize our family? Why did he jeopardize my career?" she screamed.

Moore was cited for minor offenses in the 18th district last month. Now he's behind bars for some major crimes, including aggravated assault, making terroristic threats and corrupting a minor. That charge is because the video was allegedly taped by his 12 year old son. But a Villanova law professor is skeptical that these charges will hold any weight in court.

Michael Carroll summed it up this way. "I'm not saying this is popular speech or that this is a responsible opinion. It's clear people are going to be upset by it, but that doesn't make it criminal."

Carroll believes this arrest stems solely from Moore's speech and nothing else, and speech, regardless of how hateful, is protected under the First Amendment.

"If you go on the internet, on websites on YouTube, you're going to find white power videos advocating violence against African-Americans and Jews, so there's lots of hatred on the internet."

Carroll adds the aggravated assault charge may be the most questionable because Moore as far as we know, advocated, but never attempted to hurt anyone.

The district attorney told Action News free speech ends when you incite others to shoot police officers. However, when we asked for a definition of aggravated assault, the office had no comment.

"When you start punishing people for what they say, " says Carroll, you're undermining the whole basis of freedom in this society."

The video has been removed from YouTube. The company says it violates it terms of use. Moore is expected be arraigned overnight.