Is saying this on an online video illegal?

My sister is talking about going to the cops over a video that her ex boyfriend posted a year ago. She just found it online today after searching her name on Google. The video is posted on Youtube. This ex was verbally and physically abusive of her during their short relationship in which she got pregnant and after he left her, she lost the baby at 12 weeks after fighting with him. She blamed him for it. I want to know if what he says is free speech or illegal.

Here are the things mentioned in the video:

He calls her just about every name in the book including b*tch and sl*t

He says he would bash her boyfriends face in with a gun

He says he hopes she dies

He admits to being violent with her but says she set him off

He says he should have killed her the day he had a knife up to her during a fight they had so he would have a reason to be blamed for her losing the baby

And finally, he used her full name in the song title and in the video

Would this be illegal or is there anything the cops will do because this video was posted almost a year ago? Thanks in advance.


Also, the reason I'm asking is because I didn't think it was illegal unless he directly said something like "I'm going to kill her"

5 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm about half tired of all you armchair attorneys giving out bad advice on the whole "he/she threatened me" argument. It seems that a good 1/3rd of all questions in this section are about some boyfriend threatening some girlfriend (or boyfriend (yuck!)) or some husband threatening to beat up his ex-wife or some bully threatening to kill some 90 pound weakling. Let me try to sort it out, since no one else seems to want to. Watch out, bumpy ride ahead.

    There are two types of threat. A threat protected by the first amendment (a joke, an utterance of desperation or exasperation (sometimes an excited utterance), a conditional threat, etc.) is generally not considered a "true threat." A "true threat" is one that is not protected by the first amendment. The differences can be boiled down to 6 areas for determination by a jury: intent, context, reaction of the recipient, intended target, conditionality, and unequivocality.

    1) Intent. Was there willful intent to carry out the threat? Juries have difficult times determining this unless the threat is actually carried out. If the guy really does beat that b*tch's boyfriend's skull in with a gun, there is little room to not assign intent to the threat. If plans are made to bash the boyfriend's face in with a gun and proof can be offered, his threat is a "true threat." If, on the other hand, I said "man, I could just kill you right now," I have no intent of actually doing it.

    2) Context. Context is an important factor in any "true threat" determination. Investigations tend to examine the relationship between the involved parties, the circumstances leading up to the communication (threat), the behavior of the person making the threat, and the setting of the actual communication.

    3) Reaction of recipient. Does the target of the threat believe in their heart of hearts that the execution of the threat is a very real possibility? Could the person that made the threat actually carry it out? While context and intent cover the state of mind and ability of the person that made the threat, the context and the reaction to the threat cover the state of mind of the target.

    4) Intended target. Is the target named? Is there a specific target or is the target amorphous? Did the defendant say "I'm going to take all you SOBs with me when I die" or did he say "I'm going to kill Jane Doe before I die?" The former is a rant (which may or may not be a true threat), the later is a "true threat."

    5) Conditionality. Was the threat conditional on something the target was told to do? For example: "get me $1,000 dollars out of the bank or I'll kill you." While threats are rarely this clear cut, the jury must consider this. "True threats" are rarely conditional, the charge is usually for larceny, grand theft auto, endangerment, etc., not the threat itself. On the other hand if I said "climb the damn ladder or I'll break your arm myself, you scaredy cat," that's not a "true threat."

    6) Unequivocality. This has to do with the exactness or, alternately, the ambiguity of the threat. This is merely another player in a jury's deliberations.

    In your specific example, the only real threat made is the threat to "bash her boyfriend's face in with a gun." Nothing else is a direct threat (unequivocal). The medium that the threats were delivered on matters not. The fact that the threats are on YouTube and posted over a year ago make them very hard to deny. You have a "true threat" against your sister's boyfriend if not your sister herself. It's definitely grounds for an ex-parte restraining order and a subsequent issuance of a real restraining order. The previous physical abuse is what you should go for here against the defendant, the statute of limitations hasn't run out yet.

    I wish you and your family nothing but the best.

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    If he says something that is directly a threat of imminent, immediate harm, it could be illegal, but obviously that didn't happen since the video was posted a year ago. Other than that, assuming everything he says was true, it's perfectly legal. First Amendment.

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  • 8 years ago

    If it would be illegal to say it at the local PTA meeting, it is illegal to say it in an online video.

    She should certainly go to the cops with it and let them decide whether to investigate or simply wait until she turns up murdered, which is a whole lot easier to prosecute.

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  • KMcG
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    It is possible that he can be charged with making threats. Contact a lawyer and the police.

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  • Kevin
    Lv 6
    8 years ago

    He was threatening her and her boyfriend, and that is illegal. Contact the police and go from there.

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