Antonio "Savage" Jenkins' tattoo of "pig get'n brains blew out" leads to criminal charge
Jenkins' tattoo misspells Officer Seidel's name.
Just over a week after news broke that the Chicago-based Gangster Disciples have hits out on all Twin Cities cops, an alleged member of the Bloods faces a terroristic threats charge for his new tattoo.
On October 31, Antonio "Savage" Jenkins posted a photo of his new tattoo on Facebook. As the Pioneer Press describes it, the tattoo "depicts a person holding a pistol to the mouth of a pig dressed in a Minneapolis police uniform with the badge of officer Jeffrey Seidel." Jenkins' Facebook caption reads: "My tattoo iz a pig get'n his brains blew out." The post received 18 "likes."
The post was noticed by a Hennepin County deputy who then notified Minneapolis police.
Here's some more information from an MPD press release:
After being notified of the tattoo and posting [Officer Jeffrey Seidel] stated that he did take this as a threat against his life and that it had caused fear among the members of his family.
In early November the defendant was stopped by police and the tattoo was observed. In a statement the defendant admitted where and when he had gotten the tattoo and that it stemmed from anger against the officer for an August 19, 2011 incident [it's unclear exactly what transpired back in August 2011]. The defendant further admitted that his tattoo could cause others to use violence against the officer.
Investigators are also aware that in late September, in an apartment frequented by Bloods street gang members, graffiti was found that also threatened the same officer.
It's certainly unusual for someone to be charged with a crime thanks to a tattoo, but in a PiPress interview , Dale Carpenter, a constitutional law instructor at the University of Minnesota Law School, says Jenkins' tattoo crosses the line into unprotected speech.
"It would constitute, in my view, what's called a 'true threat' under the Supreme Court's First Amendment decisions," Carpenter said. "It's a serious threat to the health or life of another person and such statements, no matter what form they're made in -- written, verbal, put on Facebook or put on your body -- it is unprotected."
But the ACLU's Chuck Samuelson disagrees with Carpenter's assessment. From the Star Tribune:
[Samuelson] conceded that police have a known bad guy who is indicating strong disapproval of this police officer. "But to make the stretch to terroristic threats is a big leap," Samuelson said. "For terroristic threats you have to brandish a gun or a gun lookalike. ... Basically we have someone making fun of the police."
"Bad manners, you bet," he said. "Criminal? No."
"The fact that they arrested him and threw him in jail and then charged him," Samuelson said, "could be interpreted as harassment by the police and the county attorney."
The terroristic threats charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.