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Facing 16 Years In Prison For Videotaping Police 878

Posted by kdawson
from the we-are-watching-you dept.
krou sends this snip from the Maine Civil Liberties Union: "The ACLU of Maryland is defending Anthony Graber, who faces as much as sixteen years in prison if found guilty of violating state wiretap laws because he recorded video of an officer drawing a gun during a traffic stop. ... Once [the Maryland State Police] learned of the video on YouTube, Graber's parents' house was raided, searched, and four of his computers were confiscated. Graber was arrested, booked, and jailed. Their actions are a calculated method of intimidation. Another person has since been similarly charged under the same statute. The wiretap law being used to charge Anthony Graber is intended to protect private communication between two parties. According to David Rocah, the ACLU attorney handling Mr. Graber's case, 'To charge Graber with violating the law, you would have to conclude that a police officer on a public road, wearing a badge and a uniform, performing his official duty, pulling someone over, somehow has a right to privacy when it comes to the conversation he has with the motorist.'" Here are a factsheet (PDF) on the case from the ACLU of Maryland, and the video at issue.
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Facing 16 Years In Prison For Videotaping Police

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  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @02:31AM (#33041140) Homepage

    ... you've nothing to be afraid of. So, I wonder what it is they're afraid of?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @02:42AM (#33041166)

      I have nothing illegal to hide - but I still want to. That's what privacy is.

      Cops on duty shouldn't have any privacy. Everything they do should be recorded (except when cost would prohibit recording). As a tax payer, and therefore, the employer of all police officers, I want to make sure my employees are behaving.

      • by gd2shoe (747932) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:15AM (#33041262) Journal

        Most of the video is boring. Skip to 2:55. He did deserve to be pulled over, but not like that.

        Cops on duty shouldn't have any privacy. Everything they do should be recorded (except when cost would prohibit recording). As a tax payer, and therefore, the employer of all police officers, I want to make sure my employees are behaving.

        I agree, but it's more than that. They're authority to use force derives from our rights. We have every right to ensure that they are properly executing their duties (without interfering with said duties). The first amendment was specifically intended to allow for dissemination of information regarding improper use of authority. He has an affirmative right to post that video. At best the officer can claim the inferred right to privacy, which shouldn't be granted in this context.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Compaqt (1758360)

          Yeah.

          What's funny is stupid/corrupt judges (in the sense of favoring expansion of the power of the government of which they are a part) have found some way to not apply wiretapping laws to warrantless Internet taps, yet recording a public servant right out in public is somehow a *wire*tap.

        • by snorris01 (571733) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:57AM (#33041432)

          I'm sure that the founding fathers would have had an amendment of the constitution that guaranteed against what is going on right now.

          People should also focus on how unnecessarily dangerous that traffic stop was.

          Why did off-duty officer feel it was necessary to endanger his own life, the motorcyclist and the life of the motorists in the nearby vehicles? His weapon was drawn before he announced that he was a police officer. Somebody who would have chosen fight over flight could have caused a serious altercation. IANAPO, but why couldn't the officer have recorded the details of this obvious lawbreaker and reported it to a marked unit to take care of traffic violations?

          I'm hoping there are other details I don't know about, but the video evidence seems to indicate an investigation of the officer's conduct would be prudent.

          • by couchslug (175151) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @07:54AM (#33042582)

            "His weapon was drawn before he announced that he was a police officer."

            If Joe Citizen were to do that, they could get busted for "pointing and brandishing" the firearm.

          • by paeanblack (191171) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @10:10AM (#33044304)

            People should also focus on how unnecessarily dangerous that traffic stop was.

            Why did off-duty officer feel it was necessary to endanger his own life, the motorcyclist and the life of the motorists in the nearby vehicles?

            The "victim" was driving 127mph on a public road with other traffic around. Who was placing whom in danger again?

            (and he wasn't driving a Toyota, either)

            • by Sta7ic (819090) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:04PM (#33046286)

              Himself. Motorcycles have a lot of speed, high acceleration and maneuverability, little mass, and very little between the rider and the road. If he'd met another vehicle at 127mph, the other vehicle would be operable with a dent, and this video would've ended with road pizza.

              Stupid driving? Extremely. Dangerous to those around him? Not really.

              Here in my state, what the cop did would be called 'threatening with a deadly weapon'.

            • by sleeping143 (1523137) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:21PM (#33046536)
              The case has nothing to do with who was being put in danger. To be fair to the rider, he has accepted the consequences of his speeding. The problem here is that the officer refuses to admit that his behavior was not appropriate to the situation, and is now trying to destroy the evidence of his mistake.

              If I remember correctly from a previous posting about this case, the officer claimed he pulled the gun because the rider was backing away from the car. Personally, I'd do the same thing if an unmarked car pulled in front of me like that. This rider can consider himself lucky for having such a calm, collected response, though. He could have easily panicked and put his hands up. That would have made the bike lurch forward as the clutch engaged, which easily could have resulted in him getting shot.
            • by farble1670 (803356) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:21PM (#33046540)

              The "victim" was driving 127mph on a public road with other traffic around.

              yes the driver was irresponsible and breaking the law. no one is arguing that. however, aiming a gun at the driver after he pulled over didn't help matters. no one was made safer by that action (quite the opposite).

              not to mention he just jumped out of an unmarked car aiming a gun. watching the video, there was no indication that he was an officer of the law. the cop was obviously "pissed off" when we got out of his car (watch his face). not exactly the type of cop you want ... one that gets mad and pulls his gun when someone is speeding.

            • by rgviza (1303161) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @01:45PM (#33048056)

              >The "victim" was driving 127mph on a public road with other traffic around. Who was placing whom in danger again?

              That's not the issue. He was issued a citation and arrested for driving 127mph on a public road.

              That's the punishment for that infraction. In this state you get arrested for going that fast. The police officer was *required* to pull him over. In Maryland, a state trooper is never off duty. They are required to carry a gun and intervene if a crime is being committed regardless of whether or not they are "on the clock". The officer did absolutely nothing wrong. Indeed, if he did nothing and ignored the motorcyclist, he'd have been in violation with his employment contract.

              Driving 127mph in this state is a "shall arrest" infraction. That's why he was originally arrested, and it's justified.

              The state's prosecutor is the one being a douchebag.

              What he's also being charged with is wiretapping. He had a helmet cam on (in plain view I might add) which he was using to record his high speed adventure, and got pulled over while the camera was running. Chances are he forgot it was there due to the stress of a gun being pulled on him.

              The state is claiming he's violated wiretapping laws because of this camera. In reality they got pissed because he posted it on YouTube. This is ridiculous. The officer in question actually performed admirably and didn't do anything wrong. I'm not sure why the state feels it's necessary to prosecute the guy for breaking wiretapping laws. That's the crux of this case.

              Sure give him time for being an idiot, and driving too fast but you can't really, in this situation, prosecute him with wiretapping laws because he had a helmet cam on and forgot to turn it off. Where's the intent? The officer didn't see the camera mounted on top of the helmet? He knew the camera was there and didn't even ask if it was on.

              The wiretapping charge is bullshit and is abuse of the law by the prosecution.

        • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @09:06AM (#33043278)
          What's funny/ridiculous about Maryland doing this is that in Maryland many police cars have video cameras installed in them to record traffic stops (and other police activity). The police do not find it necessary to inform those they pull over that they are being videotaped. The justification for that is that those being pulled over do not have an expectation of privacy when they are on the public roadways. Yet in this and several other cases, prosecutors (and police officers) assert that the police have an expectation of privacy when conducting their duty (in some cases the very same traffic stops that they would contend the ordinary citizen would have no expectation of privacy if the officer had a video camera in his car).
      • by Skapare (16644) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @07:22AM (#33042376) Homepage

        Correction: Cops should not have any expectation of privacy when performing any actual police function. Even "on duty" there are moments of personal time, whether taking a leak in the can. or having an afternoon delight with another cop in a back room. Even things like working out at the gym. As a taxpayer, you may well want to be sure if cops are wasting their time when officially "on duty" but off doing something in the back room. But a video or even audio recording of it, is for the most part, out of bounds (it might be admissible in court to counter a denial, if the matter gets there, but that should be for the judge and jury to see, not the general public).

        Any police function, particularly when facing members of the public, are not private.

    • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @06:48AM (#33042190)

      "If you've nothing to hide... ... you've nothing to be afraid of."

      Thats what the police and government want us to believe because it makes their job easier, and their abuses of power are hidden away from the public.

      It really is funny how the police and government cover up everything they do wrong, but want to know everything you do.

      Filming a police officer should be completely legal. As long as they have power over us, and we pay their wages... We have every right, like a boss would, to review their on the job behavior.

  • Its unfortunate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beowulf_Boy (239340) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @02:33AM (#33041144)

    Its unfortunate that he will most likely win (atleast, we all hope) and will probably end up getting some money out of the state for his trouble. But the thing is, the people that made those decisions won't be punished, its the tax payers that will be punished because now the defecit due to the lawsuit has to be made up for.

  • by Valacosa (863657) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @02:38AM (#33041154)
    If Maryland only required one party involved in a conversation to be aware for a recording to be legal, this bullshit charge would never fly. Such is the case in Canada, and the majority of US states.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @02:47AM (#33041178)

      Yep, if you live in a two party state, you need to get on your representatives to change the law. The problem is just as this illustrates: EVERYONE involved in a conversation has to be informed and often to consent to the recording. If not, it is illegal. While obviously it is the easiest for the police to abuse this, normal citizens can too. You see a gang banger beating the crap out of someone, you covertly film it, his attorney presses to have you criminally charged. Or you have a boss who screams racial slurs at people your record that on a tape recorder and then the boss find out and has you charged.

      A one party system is a much better way to go. That means one person in a conversation , the person recording, has to be aware a recording is being made. Nobody else needs to be told. This means you can't just record anything, you can't sneak cameras in to your neighbour's house, but you can put them in your own. You can't place a tap on a random phone but you can record your own calls, and so on. You can record things you are involved in (such as having a camera on your person), property you own, etc.

      Do that, and then police, or anyone else, can't pull this shit.

    • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:09AM (#33041242)
      I like to know when I'm being recorded, thank you very much. The problem here is the ridiculous idea that a police officer in a public place has the same right to privacy as two people involved in a private telephone conversation.

      On a side note I can't figure out who is the biggest asshole involved in this: the motorcyclist himself for doing 127mph on a public road while weaving between cars and doing wheelies, the cop for briefly pulling a gun and immediately putting it back into the holster, or the Maryland State Police for going after the guy. I vote for the Maryland State Police, with the motorcyclist himself in close second and the cop in third place.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by AGMW (594303)

        I like to know when I'm being recorded, thank you very much. The problem here is the ridiculous idea that a police officer in a public place has the same right to privacy as two people involved in a private telephone conversation. On a side note I can't figure out who is the biggest asshole involved in this: the motorcyclist himself for doing 127mph on a public road while weaving between cars and doing wheelies, the cop for briefly pulling a gun and immediately putting it back into the holster, or the Maryland State Police for going after the guy. I vote for the Maryland State Police, with the motorcyclist himself in close second and the cop in third place.

        The motorcyclist did touch 127 earlier (before the first, marked, cop car) but he hit 86 (or so) after passing the plain-clothes car, which is presumably why they decided to pull him. Watching the video I don't really see anything he did as particularly dangerous, though there was obviously some excessive speed and popping the (well controlled) wheelie was perhaps a bit foolish. The "weaving" thru the traffic is called filtering in the UK and is legal, so I really have no problem with that - indeed he seem

  • Streissand Effect (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @02:48AM (#33041182)
    When is anyone anywhere going to learn about the Streissand Effect? This would only even be slightly more idiotic or ironic if in they video, they're pulling over Barbara Streissand herself. Now millions of people and probably CNN if it's a slow news day will pick up this story and know what a bunch of assholes these morons are and there will be resignations and law suits and blah blah blah just because of a few arrogant jackasses trying to use scare tactics. Well, at least the good news is they're all going to get what they deserve.
    Btw, since they're probably not above suing over comments about this story also, SUBPEONA THIS! *flips off the screen*
    Lol, just try and take me to court to make me prove you're all jackasses as stated (and make it a jury trial.)
  • by Stiletto (12066) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @02:48AM (#33041184)

    We're all one traffic stop away from total financial ruin and potentially jail. If it's not for something illegal today, it'll be for something illegal tomorrow, or simply something the police think might be possibly illegal.

    Whether he's found guilty or not, his life is basically over.

    If he's lucky, the ordeal will cost him thousands (maybe tens of thousands) when it's all said and done, and he wont get any of his stuff back. He'll have an impossible time getting a job, a loan, a security clearance, etc. with an arrest in his background. Many (most?) employers now ask if you've merely been arrested, regardless of whether you were charged or found guilty, so he'll be making minimum wage at best.

    If he's unlucky, he'll have a bunch of jack-booted "law and order" Americans on his jury who side with the police by default and just want to see more people put in jail.

    • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:11AM (#33041248) Journal

      That's why I hope he wins his case, and then turns around and sues the state and Police Department for millions.

      Being "tough on crime" is a joke in an age where nearly everyone, everywhere in our country is guilty of SOMETHING that could land them in prison. There is something fundamentally wrong with our legal system. It no longer seeks justice, it seeks to create more criminals because criminals are now a product that the state can sell to industrialists who build and maintain prisons. You make more criminals by making more behavior criminal, and forcing segments of the population toward criminal behavior - our inner cities are crime factories, and that's exactly what the state wants because if the prisons are empty, then more won't be built.

    • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:24AM (#33041306)
      If it's not for something illegal today, it'll be for something illegal tomorrow, or simply something the police think might be possibly illegal.

      I think it's clear that riding a motorcycle at 127mph in traffic while doing wheelies is pretty fucking illegal. What the police department did about the recording is very wrong but that's a separate issue. The initial traffic stop was completely justified and the guy should lose his license if not worse. Don't make him into some kind of innocent victim.
      • by flimflammer (956759) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:28AM (#33041312)

        As far as I'm concerned, he is a victim. He may have broken the law but that doesn't justify 16 years in prison or anything related to the video taping. Just because you break the law in some fashion does not mean you're free to have anything done to you. He should be fined, lose his license, or something related to his crime. All this wiretapping bullshit is getting a bit ridiculous.

      • by FrameRotBlues (1082971) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <seulbtoremarf>> on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:44AM (#33041376) Homepage Journal
        My car is governed at 128, and I've previously been stopped for doing 94 in a 55. I received a hefty ticket and I paid it. The police did not get an arrest warrant, search my house, or seize my computers.

        What the police department did about the recording is very wrong but that's a separate issue.

        And that "separate issue" would be the issue at hand. The defendant has everything coming to him regarding speeding and/or reckless driving citations, but that's not why the ACLU is representing him, nor why he's facing 16 years in jail. In that respect, IMHO he is an innocent victim.

      • by nedlohs (1335013) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @04:41AM (#33041664)

        I realize this is hard, but let me try and explain.

        The traffic offense is completely irrelevant to the discussion. He isn't being charged and tried with doing wheelies and speeding. He is being tried and charged with violating wiretap laws.

        It doesn't matter if he speeds, it doesn't matter if he does wheelies, if doesn't matter if he steals candy from the super market, it doesn't matter if he gambles on the internet. What matters is what he has been charged with.

        This should be pretty fucking obvious.

        As should that what is being referred to in what you quote is the extra stuff not the actual traffic infringement. Which should also be fucking obvious.

    • by TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:40AM (#33041346)

      Many (most?) employers now ask if you've merely been arrested...

      In all the countries i live in, you can answer no to such a question regardless (its also illegal to ask it in the first place). Only the police have the information and its not public and it will not be on your criminal record.

      Ironically having a record in the countries i live is also not such a death warrant for jobs either. Generally people are prepared to believe you turned over a new leaf--even if its just about a book of new leafs.

      But its not all peaches and sunshine. In particular if it goes to trial, that is a matter of public record. One guy got news headlines that he knocked up a little girl and was a dirty pedo, with a "unrelated" picture next to his mug shot of 5year old girl playing in a new playground on the front page. He was fully acquitted since the girl in question was 15 and he meet her in a bar (drinking age back then was 20) and she acted 20 claiming to have a office job etc. The Judge/jury said there was no way the defendant could have reasonably expected that she was underage.

      It didn't matter. In the end the fully acquitted and innocent guy had to change his name and move countries.

      So I do agree. There is a very real social cost with an arrest, one that cops generally don't pay. And they wonder why so many of us don't respect the uniform.

  • Dashcams (Score:5, Informative)

    by david duncan scott (206421) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @02:49AM (#33041190)
    I can't speak for MD in particular (although I do live here) but beyond the pernicious "the public can't watch us do the public's work" aspect of this is those dashboard cameras we all love on America's Funniest Car Chases and whatever. I've certainly seen clips that include audio from the citizen as well as the police officer--are we to take it that these too are felonious wiretaps?
  • 16 years?! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @02:52AM (#33041194)

    You could kill someone and get less than that... (as long as the person you kill isn't a cop)

    • Re:16 years?! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by linzeal (197905) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @09:43AM (#33043896) Homepage Journal
      My old room mate called in a domestic violence incident at his apartment complex a few months ago and it was a young cop and his fiancée. After a few hours they came pounding on his door asking him questions and he told them to come back later because he had to work in the morning. A few days passed and he went down to his car and found his antenna bent off and it was keyed, so he called the cops again and said he thought it was the wife beating cop, who was still living in the apartments. His insurance paid for the repairs but he wanted to get the hell out of there, so he setup a webcam from his balcony overlooking the parking lot while he looked for a new place. A week or so later he got 4 still images of the cop walking over to his car and kicking it, throwing up his hands and than kicking it some more. He turned over the images to the cops and he said the first thing they asked was if there was audio, because if there was he was going to be charged with a wiretapping crime, they were so serious they were grinning, he said. There wasn't any audio, long story short but there is a major aversion to even recording wife beating cops off duty cops running amok that is how this law is used to cover up crimes performed even off duty.
  • Wiretapping.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fallen Kell (165468) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @02:58AM (#33041204)
    I love how video+audio = "wiretapping", which is by definition, tapping into the wires of a phone or communications system to record the conversation. So have the politicians been jailed for taking video of their child at school and happened to video someone else? Have people been arrested for using a digital recorder at the local college lectures? What about the new crew?
  • America (Score:3, Insightful)

    by majorme (515104) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @02:59AM (#33041208) Journal
    Fuck yeah I am glad I don't live there. Would you like to import some of our (backward) European freedoms?
  • Right to profit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AHuxley (892839) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:02AM (#33041212) Homepage Journal
    Re "private communication between two parties"
    Funny how when a multinational Internet search and advertising corporation gets caught doing a wifi traffic stop, its a mistake.
    No servers confiscated :)
  • by mentil (1748130) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:04AM (#33041218)

    I actually read an article about issues like this, and it seems different states have different wording in their wiretapping statutes. In some states, the audio part of the recording is what's illegal (many cellphones and pocket cameras record audio when they record video with no way to turn the microphone off). In other states, there's an exemption if it's obvious to all parties that what's happening is being recorded (local Channel 5 reporters with 50-pound cameras talking into a huge mic.) or if it's taking place in a public area (no privacy in public, remember?) but it seems judges are ignoring the public area exemption in cases like these.

    If you have such a video, submit it to your local news station with a note requesting anonymity, or use a Youtube account created and accessed via TOR. If the police confiscate your camera/phone, you can sue and successfully get it back.
    One thing I do wonder: how is it not a violation for cops to have dashboard-mounted cameras that record audio and video constantly, yet a brief cellphone video of a pulled-over cop is a violation.

  • by droopus (33472) * on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:04AM (#33041220)

    What Graber filmed was called a Terry Stop [wikipedia.org] and the cop is able to search you without a warrant within your "wingspan" to check for weapons that may threaten him or other people. There are a lot of laws that cops often break on Terry Stops. My car was searched on my own property under the guise of a Terry Stop, which of course is wildly illegal, but I digress.

    What Graber is "facing" is a maximum..he will never serve it unless he decides to roll the dice with a jury, blows trial and the judge sentences him to the maximum. Since the ACLU is involved, you can bet that will never happen.

    But States and more often, the Feds will indict you for offenses that carry insane sentences in order to convince you to plead out, as the vast majority of people do. I did. I was facing five life sentences plus 105 years for an offense no one had ever been jailed a day on before. If I went to trial and lost on one single count, I would have done fifteen years, mandatory. (No parole in feds, BTW...you do 87.5%) I signed for five years, did 52 months.

    Now, would you have fought? Really? Many people say they would, but it's a lot different when you are considering giving your life to 12 people too stupid to get out of jury duty. When you realize that the whole system is set up to plead out 95+% of cases and do anything possible to convince you to not go in front of a jury, the average person has almost no chance in the system as it is set up. You didn't do it? That doesn't matter. It's what you can PROVE to a jury. And most of the time, the Government has much better lawyers and resources, so Graban is actually lucky...he won't serve a day, IMVHO.

    CSI, Law and Order are worse than misinformation..they are propaganda, brainwashing us into thinking the system is fair and equal. It isn't. Graber is lucky that his case has publicity value. He may be "facing" sixteen years, but he'll never serve any.

    But we aren't all lucky. We are indeed one Terry stop away from ruin. Be careful.

    • by Vectormatic (1759674) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:38AM (#33041342)

      I have an honest question for you: Why the fuck do you still live in that country?

      Honestly, a place where cops are practically untouchable, the justice system amounts to "plea guilty and do a few years, or else...." and guilt is determined by your average group of mouthbreathers with an extremely mis-placed sense of justice on a power-trip. Why the hell would anyone want to live there?

  • What if he loses (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:10AM (#33041246) Journal

    While we can get all indignant about how asinine this is and how the laws are stupid. What can we do if he does lose this case and goes to prison. What is our recourse? There isn't one. While I'd love to be able to look back and say this was some landmark case that caused some sort of sane reform, I just dont see that happening, and I just don't see Maryland replacing the politicians that are allowing this farce to continue.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      What is our recourse? There isn't one...

      Martin L. King would probably disagree. Seriously. Begin part of a "democracy" means so much more than the right to vote. If enough can rally to the cause there are many *peaceful* things you can do. Don't forget that bad PR is a DA worst nightmare....

      But motivating lots of people to hit the streets rather than get hot under the collier on /. is probably harder than it looks.

      But then again flash mobs do happen.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:13AM (#33041256) Homepage Journal
    Definately, not you.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:19AM (#33041284) Homepage

    Support House Concurrent Resolution 298 [loc.gov], "Expressing the sense of Congress that the videotaping or photographing of police engaged in potentially abusive activity in a public place should not be prosecuted in State or Federal courts." US citizens, click here to write your congressional representative. [house.gov]

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @04:13AM (#33041520) Journal

      "Expressing the sense of Congress that the videotaping or photographing of police engaged in potentially abusive activity in a public place should not be prosecuted in State or Federal courts."

      Concurrent Resolutions have no force of law.
      Even if this one did, limiting it to "potentially abusive activity" still gives the cops plenty of wiggle room to justifiably arrest you and let a judge sort it out later... exactly the king of chilling effect we should strive to avoid.

  • by Linux-Fiend (309073) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:23AM (#33041296)

    Just imagine if LAPD pulled that on the person who filmed the Rodney King incident.

    • by 1s44c (552956) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:59AM (#33041448)

      Just imagine if LAPD pulled that on the person who filmed the Rodney King incident.

      The police would have got away with it and those same police would be beating citizens to this day.

      Rodney King is the reason police hate anyone to film them. The only films they want are ones that can 'get lost' in their evidence room if they turn out to be inconvenient.

      There is a reason they are called 'filth'.

  • Hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @03:36AM (#33041332) Journal

    While I would defend 100% his right to post this video, there is one thing I wouldn't have done (well, two things really) if it were me:

    1. Put the 120+MPH bit on YouTube. That's just asking to attract more unwanted police attention. I'd have just posted the last bit (where he admits to 69 and 80 mph, probably what he got the ticket for) and not put the bit where he overtakes the bus.
    2. Do 120+ on a busy highway in the first place.

    There's a time and place to go hooning, and it's called a very quiet road where no other traffic is, and where you're reasonably sure there are not cops lurking. And if you do get caught and get a ticket for 80 mph, for heaven's sake don't then admit to 120 in a YouTube video!

  • by spidr_mnky (1236668) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @04:20AM (#33041550)

    I saw the video. The cop is in an unmarked car and plain clothes. He pulls up past the motorcycle while it's stopped at an exit, veers in front of it, stops, and gets out with a gun drawn, saying, "Get off the motorcycle. Get off the motorcycle! Get off the motorcycle. State police."

    So what if this guy had been exercising the second amendment, and happened to be an overconfident quick-draw artist, and got "lucky" enough to shoot first?

    Right up until he says "State police," it doesn't look like a traffic stop to me. It looks like a crime in progress. Even then, pretty much anyone can say "police". He could at least flash a badge. The video did cut off right there, but that was more than enough time for something bad to happen.

  • Maryland Cops (Score:5, Interesting)

    by funkboy (71672) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @04:23AM (#33041566) Homepage

    This is the gazillionth story I've heard of Maryland cops wantonly abusing their power.

    The most blatant one I've heard happened to a coworker of mine from Bethesda in about '98. His car had been stolen and was reported to the police about a month prior to the incident. The police had actually recovered his vehicle and he had picked it up at the city impound lot earlier in the week.

    On a Friday night, he was pulled over while riding with a friend. The cops ran to his car with guns drawn, pulled the doors open, dragged them out of the car, forced them to the ground, and kicked the crap out of them. All the while they were both of course shouting that this was their car and trying to show ID etc.

    After they were both beaten into submission, the cops did eventually look at the car papers and ID, and then verified with their dispatcher that the car had been recovered that week, after which they simply drove away. I believe there were exchanges of something along the lines of "you have no proof of anything".

    Now, my friend should have gotten a lawyer, but where he messed up was that he & his dad went to the police station to complain, which got them basically nowhere. Actually this was also about the time he left our mutual employer and we haven't really discussed it since, so I'm not sure how it turned out in the end.

  • by SystematicPsycho (456042) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @04:39AM (#33041646)

    An unmarked police car pulls a guy over and the cop jumps out with a gun... at what point was the motor cyclist supposed to turn off the camera - after the fact he didn't know it was a police car? We don't know the history of the person being pulled over, for all we know he was a person of interest to the cops (his name popped up on the computer after the cop checked the registration of the bike then the cop proceeded with caution by pulling out a gun - maybe the motorcyclist had prior "dangerous" convictions?). Regardless, they might have had nothing on him and are using the "make an example out of him" method making his life hell. How many riots, uproars have happened when someone has video taped a cop? Authorities want to get the message across of don't do it or else this will happen to you... Anyway, if the filming part was so bad why didn't they confiscate the camera? How did the video end up on the internet?

  • by Senior Frac (110715) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @08:51AM (#33043092) Homepage

    While the ACLU document does mention that this police officer unholstered his weapon before identifying himself as a police officer, this is not the crux of their complaint. If I am stepping out in front of an unknown individual (his face obscured) on a heavy motorcycle, I too am going to want some form of quick defense. I am no expert on the rules of escalation of force for MD state troopers, but at worst the unholstering of the weapon is a training issue that needs to be corrected with this individual.

    The ACLU is, instead, focusing on the use of the recording laws in Maryland as a form of suppressing speech; in my opinion, a much more important issue.

    Most posters here just want to run a jack-boot-thug, social-feedback-loop rant. They are completely missing the point of both the ACLU and the slashdot submission.

  • by kalirion (728907) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @10:47AM (#33044888)

    FTA

    According to David Rocah, the ACLU attorney handling Mr. Graber's case, 'To charge Graber with violating the law, you would have to conclude that a police officer on a public road, wearing a badge and a uniform, performing his official duty, pulling someone over, somehow has a right to privacy when it comes to the conversation he has with the motorist.'" (emphasis mine)

    If this David Rocah had even bothered to view the video in question, he'd know the officer was not wearing a uniform.

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @01:40PM (#33047990) Homepage

    Here's a useful phone app someone into phone apps should write. When you push one emergency button, the phone starts taking video and audio and uploading it in real time to a server, which then immediately sends the video someplace where it can't be deleted. (Sending it to YouTube, Wikileaks, the ACLU, and CopWatch might be overkill, but it would work.)

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