Officer Bubbles Sues To Find Out Identity Of Anonymous YouTubers
from the double-bubble-toil-and-trouble dept
Back at the G20 meetings in July in Toronto, there were numerous stories of police overreacting and arresting protesters with little reason whatsoever. Perhaps the most noteworthy story that got attention was the story of “Officer Bubbles,” the name given to a police officer, named Adam Josephs, who threatened to arrest a woman for assault if the bubbles she was blowing landed on him. You can see the video here:
As you read through the lawsuit, some of the YouTube comments Josephs is suing over are pretty silly, and it’s difficult to see how they’re worth a lawsuit. I mean, here’s one of the comments:
“true — probably wears the sunglasses while looking at himself in the mirror!!!”
Now, that may be a false statement (though, can he really say he never looked at himself in the mirror with sunglasses?), but does it really qualify to the level of defamatory? Similarly, another of the comments he’s suing over reads:
“officer bubbles probably looks at himself in the mirror a lot.”
Again, is that really defamatory?
Other comments certainly appear to be mostly opinion, rather than any sort of statement of fact:
“It’s a shame that the police are becoming uniformed bullies. It’s bad when the local people tell them to leave their community.”
“Nice going Officer Josephs, you are a real hero and a true testament to the sorry state of law enforcemtn here in Canada, and a fine example of the kind of policing peaceful people had to endure during the G20 farce.”
Even in cases where the comments were a bit more stringent, it’s hard to see how they could be seen as anything more than angry venting. The Toronto Star spoke to one of the (still anonymous) commenters who said he doesn’t even remember what he wrote, but he was just angry about what he had seen. According to the lawsuit, his comment was:
“If this steroid addicted Nazi has children, they must be sooooo embarrassed.”
In other words, your typical YouTube-style comment. Sure, you could argue that claiming he was “steroid-addicted” and a “Nazi” might qualify as defamation, but taken in context, would anyone reading that comment really believe that the commenter knew Officers Josephs and was actually alleging he was addicted to steroids and a Nazi, or would they assume that it was just someone upset by the way Officer Josephs acted.
In the meantime, by filing this lawsuit, about the only thing that Office Bubbles has done is call a lot more attention to his initial actions and reinforce the idea that he seems to totally overreact to rather benign situations. But, I guess, if you’re going to arrest a girl for blowing bubbles in your direction, suing YouTube (for being a 3rd party platform) and suing people for mocking comments that no one actually believes probably seems to be equally intelligent.