Motion seeks dismissal of threat charge

Brian Langhammer appeared in court Friday via Zoom.

An attorney for Brian Langhammer argued that an alleged threat he made against police via text and a Facebook post didn’t mention any officer specifically, and thus the charge against him should be dismissed.

Defense attorney Matt Jackson represented Langhammer at Friday’s motion hearing. He read the text message, which was three sentences long. “The first sentence says, ‘I want to take some pigs with me so that requires planning,’” Jackson said. “I just want to point out that he’s talking about pigs, police. So there’s no particular person was threatened by that text message. Next message: ‘Bummer, you’ve got a lot on your plate, any progress on Mansion House?’ Next text, final block, ‘Wednesday will be day 666 of my own personal nightmare. I thought of ending my agony on that day, but that’s the day before my last daughter’s 16th birthday so I just can’t.’”

The second alleged threat was a Facebook post, Jackson said. As The Times previously reported, the post was made under a name used by Brian Langhammer, “Brian Lingam.” It featured a photo of a pig or a boar in crosshairs of a firearm scope, with the caption: ‘Warm up those bagpipes, #Martha’sVineyard. Justice is coming.”

Jackson said based on case law, because the threat doesn’t mention any specific police officer and no one is tagged in the post, the charge should be dismissed.

Langhammer, who appeared via Zoom from the Dukes County Jail, frequently nodded his head in approval as Jackson spoke.

Prosecutor Matt Palazzola argued that the Facebook post was public, and that the Tisbury officer who wrote the report “interpreted it as a threat” against Martha’s Vineyard police officers. “While his name isn’t properly spelled, it’s clear that it was the defendant,” Palazzola said of the Facebook post that was made under the name Brian Lingam.

Judge Benjamin Barnes asked Palazzola if the fact that the text and Facebook post didn’t mention anyone specific was “fatal” to his case. The prosecutor said no, and Langhammer shouldn’t be absolved of making a threat just because he didn’t single out an individual. “He’s in Martha’s Vineyard, he’s using a hashtag Martha’s Vineyard,” he said, noting there are about 100 police officers on the Island.

Barnes also questioned if it was a First Amendment issue, and mentioned a rap song that talks about “killing the police.”

Palazzola said that’s different. “That’s the police in general in the rap song,” he said. “Whereas here he is hashtagging Martha’s Vineyard officers … It’s a specific set and a specific weapon.”

Barnes took the motion under advisement. He set a bench trial for Sept. 8 after consulting with Langhammer. “Let justice be done,” Langhammer said.


  1. I wish there was only 100 police officers on the island seems to me Edgartown has almost that many alone. The taxpayers have a huge burden paying all these police officers year around.

  2. Pretty weak argument about not threatening an individual police officer.
    Most people who perpetrate mass murders do not know their victims, but attack them on the basis of prejudice– A black church in Charleston, a gay bar in Miami– a Walmart in texas where the majority of people at any given time will be hispanic- massage parlors in Atlanta where the patrons are likely to be Asian, A “black” supermarket in Buffalo. You get the idea.
    This lawyer needs to go back to school.
    Regardless of the merits of this particular case, Langhammer deserves better.
    Dersbag would have him out tomorrow– for better or worse.

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