R.I. filmmakers say police are violating their rights
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WHDH) -- A team of viral video makers in Providence found itself at odds with several police officers in Rhode Island after their video pranks caused some minor disturbances.
The videos start with someone walking down the street. Then, an alien jumps out to scare them. For those who welcomed the experience, afterwards there were photos, belly rubs and lots of laughs.
“[We] scare people, dance with people, interact with people, just having some fun,” Jason Lichtenberger, one of the filmmakers, said.
But the RipFilms Studios LLC crew, who went viral with their now famous “Scary Snowman Act” has also had a few run-ins with the law.
Providence Police and Brown University police specifically have stopped the group while they’re doing their pranks and all of their interactions have been on camera.
The RipFilms crew said 99 percent of the cops who approached them were ok with what they were doing once they explained themselves - but the pair said on two separate occasions, the same Providence Police officer told the pranksters they had to leave, or be arrested, even though a store owner had given them permission to be there.
“We were doing our thing at East Side Pockets and an officer came along and had asked us to leave,” Lichtenberger said.
The pranksters ended up doing what they were told and left after a conversation in which an officer threatened to arrest them.
“We didn't want to leave, but we didn't want to get arrested, and we felt our rights were trampled on,” Lichtenberger said.
“We got permission on private property, and he still came. It's like he was looking for us,” RipFilms prankster, Brian Medeiros said.
The RipFilms crew said they're not looking to sue; they just want their rights upheld.
“I would just simply like to be left alone, told, 'It's ok to move forward. We're not going to bother you any more.' This officer made a mistake, and I just want to go about my business,” Lichtenberger said.