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Man Charged With HIPAA Violations For Video Taping Police 620

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the being-a-jerk-is-not-a-prosecutable-crime dept.
Bob the Super Hamste writes "The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that Andrew Henderson was recording Ramsey County sheriff's deputies frisking a bloody-faced man, who was then loaded into an ambulance by paramedics. Then sheriff's deputy Jacqueline Muellner approached Henderson and confiscated his video camera, stating, 'We'll just take this for evidence,' which was recorded on Henderson's cell phone. On October 30th, Henderson went to the Arden Hills sheriff's office to retrieve his video camera, where he was told where he would have to wait to receive his camera back. A week later, Henderson was charged with obstruction of legal process and disorderly conduct, with the citation stating, 'While handling a medical/check the welfare (call), (Henderson) was filming it. Data privacy HIPAA violation. Refused to identify self. Had to stop dealing with sit(uation) to deal w/Henderson.' In mid November, Henderson went back to the sheriff's office to attempt to retrieve his camera and get a copy of the report when Deputy Dan Eggers refused. ... Jennifer Granick, a specialist on privacy issues at Stanford University Law School, states that the alleged violation of HIPAA rules by Andrew Henderson is nonsense, stating, 'There's nothing in HIPAA that prevents someone who's not subject to HIPAA from taking photographs on the public streets, HIPAA has absolutely nothing to say about that.'" The article notes that the Deputy in question basically told the guy he was arrested for being a "buttinski" and recording someone in the midst of a violent mental health breakdown. Supposedly the footage was deleted from the camera while in police custody.
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Man Charged With HIPAA Violations For Video Taping Police

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  • sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RearNakedChoke (1102093) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:27PM (#42534553)
    For fraks sake. Will SCOTUS please making a damn ruling that absolutely allows for any and all recording of police officers in a public place no matter what? This is getting ridiculous.
  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:27PM (#42534559)

    Supposedly the evidence was deleted from the camera while in police custody.

    Fixed that for ya.

  • what a surprise (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:29PM (#42534587)

    What a surprise, cops are bullies, liars, and thugs. That's not exactly "news".

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:30PM (#42534591)

    They're already making up bullshit to get away with it... what makes you think a SCOTUS ruling will stop it? They may have well charged the guy with poaching polar bears... it would have made as much sense as claiming a HIPAA violation to get him to stop video taping.

  • Mix (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:32PM (#42534627) Journal
    I disagree and think that police should be allowed to be filmed in public places at all times, to help keep them honest.

    At the same time, if I were being loaded into an ambulance by police, in the midst of a violent mental health breakdown, I would really appreciate it if the police stopped people from filming me. That's not something you want out spread around the internet.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Derekloffin (741455) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:32PM (#42534629)
    I agree, although sadly they'd probably find another BS reason to arrest people over this. I just wish these cops and prosecutors wouldn't keep proving they lack integrity like this. Sigh.
  • Re:Mix (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:36PM (#42534653)

    At the same time, if I were being loaded into an ambulance by police, in the midst of a violent mental health breakdown, I would really appreciate it if the police stopped people from filming me. That's not something you want out spread around the internet.

    Freedom isn't always convenient. Hell some people enjoy very nice lives under a dictatorship (particularly the dictator themselves). Doesn't mean its right. What you're effectively saying is that people should have their speech restricted even if its the truth so long as someone else finds that speech embarrassing or offensive.

    Do you not know the road that takes us down?

  • Re:what a surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:39PM (#42534689) Journal

    Not news, but always worth reminding people.

  • Re:Mix (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:44PM (#42534757)

    No, he's saying that we should expect common decency from our fellow man, but, since people have decided to think in Black and White and act like "buttinski's", never acknowledging that reasonable limits can be self enforced by individuals, he's willing to accept that maybe we don't deserve the freedom we say is so important.

    Remember its not just the government who can stomp all over the individual...other individuals can do it to. Unfortunately we're so quick to point out absolute wrong of the government, that we ignore our responsibility not to be an ass in a functioning society. Just because the police are wrong doesn't make the guy with the camera right.

  • by hondo77 (324058) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:46PM (#42534775) Homepage

    Maybe I did something shameful and don't want it to be public?

    Then you shouldn't have done it in public.

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:47PM (#42534795)
    We need legislation that not only enshrines the right to record any and all public officials, but adds severe consequences to the destruction of evidence.
  • Re:what a surprise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Damastus the WizLiz (935648) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:48PM (#42534809)
    Not all cops are bullies, liars, or thugs. I have personally known some very nice ones. Unfortunately all jobs done by people get good and bad ones alike. Yes there are some bad cops. There are also alot of officers who just have to put up with bad people all day. I know its a pipe dream but I wish people would stop making horrible generalizations just because they see one bad egg. You might do well to remember that police officers go out every day all over world with the prospect of not making it home that night. All in the name of protecting people like you and me.
  • Re:Mix (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:49PM (#42534833)
    That's presuming "a violent mental breakdown" matches the actual events. If I was beaten up by the police and loaded into an ambulance with the tag "this guy is psychotic", I'd sure as hell want someone to have recorded what really happened.
  • Re:sigh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@yBLUEahoo.com minus berry> on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:49PM (#42534847) Homepage Journal

    Based on my experience with HIPAA, it's very likely the officer thought he was correct.

  • Re:Mix (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:50PM (#42534855)

    Being an asshole is legal, and should be. Freedom when it gets right down to it is all about doing things other people don't like. If every action you perform is in complete compliance with society's accepted definition of normal then you don't need any laws to protect your rights, because nobody is going to complain about your actions in the first place.

    The protections are there to specifically protect against the UNPOPULAR actions that people get chided for. Freedom to do what you want so long as it conforms to exactly what society approves of isn't freedom at all.

  • Re:what a surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:50PM (#42534861) Journal

    You might do well to remember that police officers go out every day all over world with the prospect of not making it home that night.

    So do taxi drivers. Seriously, it's more dangerous than being a cop.

    But if you get a bad taxi driver, you generally don't tip or don't pay.

    Get a bad cop and they'll ruin your life.

    See the difference?

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:51PM (#42534873)

    Supposedly the evidence was deleted from the camera while in police custody.

    This is obviously a case of the police not knowing the law (shocker, I know). I think the officers meant well enough -- I mean, how would you like the worst day of your life being thrown up on YouTube by some paparazzi? But they handled this very badly. I would be willing to bet that if the police had simply approached the guy and said, "Look man, this guy's had a rough night and he doesn't need video of it showing up on the internet. Unless you think there's a crime happening here, could you please delete the footage? I think this guy deserves a little respect," that the guy would have complied. Unless of course he's a total douche, in which case that's what disorderly conduct is for, and the police, while still wrong, could have simply taken him to jail, had his possessions surrendered, and then deleted the footage and released him after booking.

    There are good ways, bad ways, and terrible ways, to handle these sorts of issues. I think it's obvious here which one they picked.

  • Re:what a surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:52PM (#42534897)

    Right.. and how many of the rest of them look the other way, actively cover up, or otherwise tighten up on the thin blue line? Its almost like theres a phrase in the law for that: accessory after the fact.

    Where is the outrage from law enforcement over such flagrant abuse of authority? Where are the criminal charges for the so-called police officers at fault?

  • Re:what a surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:53PM (#42534907) Journal

    Oh and further than that.

    Pretty much every time a police misconduct case comes up in the news, it seems that it always involved a hefty dose of cops covering for other cops.

    I think the number of bad cops is quite high.

  • by ezakimak (160186) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:53PM (#42534909)

    There is *no privacy* in a *public* place. By definition. For any party, anywhere. How you act in public, witnesses around or not, is open to public knowledge--be it praiseworthy or ridicule-worthy.

    Furthermore, if they first claim it was being taken in as evidence, then later they *deleted* the file--doesn't that constitute destruction of evidence (the source recording) on the police department's part? (unless they used full chain-of-custody and a data-forensics lab to copy the file?) Not to mention the obvious violation of his private information as well--I highly doubt they bothered to get a search warrant before perusing his phone's contents.

  • Can I be arrested for taking a video of someone with a limp? How about bad acne? How are any public cameras legal? How are police dash cams legal? Wouldn't these all be HIPAA violations?

  • by segfault_0 (181690) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:56PM (#42534971)

    HIPAA protects patients from medical entities and corporations, not from citizens on the street who have nothing to do with the dispensation of medical care.

    CROOKED COPS.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:57PM (#42534983)

    tampered with, destroyed, deleted, obstructed by conspiracy you say?

    In a manner in which they have institutionally committed multiple felonies that would be eligible under RICO you say?

    Yeah, good luck getting a fucking prosecutor to do their job.

    The US needs a citizen commission of prosecutors eligible to bypass prosecutorial 'discretion' with all of the normal assistance and good faith a defendant representing themself would get.

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DragonTHC (208439) <Dragon@gamerAUDE ... l.com minus poet> on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:59PM (#42535025) Homepage Journal

    The police have been terrified ever since Rodney King was filmed getting his beating.

    Let's not forget, today's police are not Andy Griffith. Their job can be dangerous, and they're only human. That doesn't mean they have a right to privacy in their work. It doesn't mean they can violate their use of force policies because no one is watching. People are watching. That just means they need to follow the rules too. Understood they're not happy about it.

  • Re:what a surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Synerg1y (2169962) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:01PM (#42535047)
    Part of the problem I think is a lack of accountability, too many cases come down to the cop's word vs. the defendant's and the cop's is taken without question landing innocent people into the system. I think the issue can easily be solved as somebody on here said in a discussion a while ago by installing cameras in ALL police cars. An extreme step past that would be to track the officer themselves, but there's gotta be a better way than that. The reason for all this: they hold a position of power that they've proven time and time and again they're capable of abusing, those in power should be held accountable, even if it's over the wrongful arrest of a single individual. Imagine being "that" guy, not a good day indeed.
  • Re:sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:02PM (#42535085)

    AAAahahahaha!

    Oh, that's good, acting like voting matters.

    But no, seriously, we should come up with a real way to solve the problem.

  • by dcollins (135727) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:06PM (#42535137) Homepage

    "Unless of course he's a total douche, in which case that's what disorderly conduct is for..."

    Disorderly conduct is not for being a total douche. Oh you fine fascist boot-licker, you.

  • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:07PM (#42535143)

    in which case that's what disorderly conduct is for

    People doing/saying things that you don't like, apparently.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:07PM (#42535145)

    Since the recorded video was in fact a video/movie, and the MPAA has bought the laws that state that IP = P, then deleting the movie is destruction of property.

    So we have

    False Arrest
    Aggrevated theft
    Destruction of property
    Making false police reports
    Falsifying evidence
    Evidence tampering

    I'd say minimum 5 years in prison for the deputy.

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:09PM (#42535187)

    Nice rant. Now get off the high horse and read the actual story.

  • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:15PM (#42535305) Homepage

    Start by not using their language. They didn't "confiscate" his camera - they robbed him and stole his camera. See how that's suddenly a different story? But that's the *correct* version of it. "Confiscation" implies that they took it temporarily under some statutory authority. What they actually did was "strong-arm robbery", with an aggravating circumstance of "under color of law" or "with a gun", or both. That's a felony any way you slice it.

    I read a lot of these stories, and the press and everybody discussing it uses the weasel language created by law enforcement to cover up LEO crimes. So, a kidnapping becomes a "false arrest" (no such thing, as an "arrest" is defined as "taking someone into custody *under legal authority*"), robbery becomes "confiscation", perjury becomes "made a mistake while filing a sworn affidavit", assault becomes "excessive force", etc. This is a problem. Start calling the crimes by their proper names and it suddenly becomes a lot more difficult to justify it or write it off.

    The victim needs to go straight to the DA and demand prosecution. It wouldn't happen unless the prosecutor is honest (and there actually are a few), but with enough noise he'll get his camera back and hopefully someone will get at least a stern talking-to.

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:23PM (#42535487)
    the problem is that many of them are "secret" cameras.

    So the system can ignore evidence, and only use the recordings when they deem fit.

    I think that all police and government owned cameras not installed with a warrant, should produce footage which is public domain, and made available as web cams, with recorded copies available via FIOA
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChipMonk (711367) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:30PM (#42535665) Journal

    Their job can be dangerous, and they're only human.

    Which is all the more reason to allow citizen recording. When some flaming asshole decides he's going to accuse the police of excessive force, brutality, what have you, third-party record of the incident will be the police officer's best friend.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:46PM (#42536021) Homepage Journal

    So if someone runs up and pantses you and another takes a pic of you in your skivvies, you were in public so there's no recourse for them posting it all over the Facebook?

    No - "pantsing" someone, i.e. making unwelcome physical contact, is called "assault," possibly even "sexual assault," and is illegal. Posting a picture, obtained illegally, in a public forum is also a crime, probably harassment (but more likely, defamation), and is prosecutable in civil court at the very least.

    Videotaping cops doing their jobs in a public place is not assault, nor is it harassment. Also worth note - the cops do not get to press charges on your behalf (as the cop in this tale apparently took it upon herself to do), they merely serve the charges being filed and make arrests if necessary.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:48PM (#42536051) Homepage Journal

    Did you not read the rest of the post? That suggestion is great for genuine shit, but what exactly should someone not do in order to avoid a false arrest?

    Stay as far away from cops as possible, at all times. Or, appear to be very, very wealthy - that seems to be the best option.

    sad, but true.

  • Re:what a surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:59PM (#42536295)

    I think that the Stanford Prison Experiment provides evidence that most people place in that role will show this sort of behavior.

  • Re:sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @04:08PM (#42536475) Homepage

    Well, I have no opinion about the latter half of his post -- but from a technology side, his belief of it being more than casual effort to get into his phone might let him down.

    Simply locking it doesn't safeguard you. Refusing a search? Well, they might just find other things to charge you for. We're already talking about the bad behavior which can come from cops who don't get their own way and try to find new ways to punish you for it.

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @04:12PM (#42536525) Homepage

    Perhaps if they WERE more like Andy Griffith their job would be less dangerous.

    Their job is dangerous because they have lost public support in many communities. They lost that support because people don't support jack booted thugs. It's why parents tell their kids that if they get lost, avoid the police and find a woman with kids to help them.

  • Re:sigh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Mike Frett (2811077) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @04:20PM (#42536695)
    If you don't vote, the crazy people *cough* republicans *cough* (sorry =p) WILL vote and then you will have wished you had voted.
  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @04:29PM (#42536881)

    I was merely pointing out the most common thing people do with such videos, and what officer said she was trying to prevent.

    Note that the officer said this AFTER THE FACT while trying to justify their own illegal behavior.

    Also, it is irrelevant what the individuals mental state was, this was an event taking place in PUBLIC involving PUBLIC SERVENTS. In other words, a PUBLIC EVENT.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @05:00PM (#42537459)

    The only thing that is going to stop these abuses are actual penalties. At the very least the deputy needs to be charged with armed robbery, he took a citizen's property at the point of a gun when he knew he had no legal grounds to do so. The Sheriff needs to be charged with conspiracy, and willful destruction of evidence in a criminal case for erasing the video. Once the police start serving time in prison instead of paid administrative leave, this illegal practice will end.

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RearNakedChoke (1102093) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @05:02PM (#42537491)
    Well that's comforting to know. I mean, we don't want to prosecute bad cops, only bad citizens.
  • Re:sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RearNakedChoke (1102093) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @06:09PM (#42538505)

    The police have been terrified ever since Rodney King was filmed getting his beating.

    Let's not forget, today's police are not Andy Griffith. Their job can be dangerous, and they're only human. That doesn't mean they have a right to privacy in their work. It doesn't mean they can violate their use of force policies because no one is watching. People are watching. That just means they need to follow the rules too. Understood they're not happy about it.

    To quote the police, "if the police are doing nothing illegal, they have nothing to fear from being recorded"

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @07:02PM (#42539423)
    Doesn't matter. I've seen recordings of girls beaten in custody and nothing happened (sometimes a firing, but never an arrest). One was a policeman defending himself when he ordered a girl to take off her shoes and place them outside the holding cell. She kicked one off without incident, but when kicking off the second, it glanced off the officer's foot. so he sent her to the hospital for assaulting the officer. I can't find the video anymore, but it was pretty clear what happened, and that beating a girl into a bloody pulp for complying with directions.

    No need to lie, no need to destroy evidence. Just make the rules so skewed in favor of the police that the criminals are always wrong, and anyone who isn't a cop is a criminal.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yakasha (42321) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @08:20PM (#42540371) Homepage

    The number of violent, dangerous, angry, sadistic cops on the force is nothing but an embarrassment for the state. Police brutality and perjury is not just routine it is expected by almost everyone.

    They're not angry. They're simply psychopaths [news.com.au].

    People become cops because they enjoy your suffering.

    Those that become cops for other reasons often become psychopaths (Is that possible? Perhaps they simply demonstrate psychopathic behavior) as demonstrated in the much referenced Stanford Prison Experiment [prisonexp.org].

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0111 1110 (518466) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @12:22AM (#42542443)

    I never said it was unprovoked. It was provoked. I swore right back at the thing. Are you saying that makes what it did to me okay?

    Right after the words left my mouth I knew I was in deep shit. In fact, at the time I thought it might actually be illegal. Only later did I learn that it is perfectly legal (although suicidal) to do so. I had no idea how truly suicidal it was and almost died because of it. I'll also have to live with memory impairment for the rest of my life because of those two words.

    I had had very little contact with cops before (mainly lots of speeding tickets) and, although I already hated them and knew they were bullies/thugs I guess I assumed they had at least some respect for the laws they enforced. I watched too much Miami Vice and other cop shows I guess. I knew that stuff wasn't real, but maybe it subtly distorted my view of what real cops were like. Real cops don't have principles, don't care about right or wrong or abstract ideas like justice.

    The essential mistake I made was in assuming that they were just regular guys who might think such roadblocks were bullshit. That they were just doing a job. I should never have tried to complain to it in the first place. Now I know that they are not truly human. Not like you and I. They are animals. Just mindless things who understand only violence. Trying to talk to one is like trying to talk to a hungry shark or crocodile. Not a lot of point to it and it's likely to end badly.

    So due to all those faulty assumptions, when it called me an asshole I swore right back at the thing just like I would if anyone else swore at me. I simply would never have imagined in my wildest dreams that it would try to kill me just for saying two words to it. And then file false charges against me as if the strangling and beating I received were not sufficient punishment. I had never before met another human being that was quite that twisted and evil and violent. It was a tough lesson. I would never treat a cop like a human being ever again and avoiding contact with them at any cost is my priority.

    I've been arrested a ton of times, I have NEVER been beaten by a cop. Why? Because I know better then to talk shit when they have the upper hand. That gets you nowhere, except beaten or dead.

    Yeah. I realize that now, but I didn't know it at the time. I'm just an aging, overweight computer geek. I didn't have that kind of street wisdom. The way I thought about cops seems to be pretty common here on slashdot. It's a result of ignorance, movies, and a lack of real exposure to cops.

    I see the same ignorant assumptions all the time here and after my experience I made a decision to try to at least give some prior warning to other geeks like me who may not realize how indistinguishable real life cops are from the most violent criminals. So I try to make at least one post in every police brutality thread I happen to notice so other isolated computer geeks can at least hear about the truth of what cops are really like. They may not believe the warning, but at least they have the chance to avoid what happened to me.

    When I spent the night in jail after being arrested I noticed everyone else in the holding cells referred to the cop jailers as "sir". That gave me pause. When I thought about why they would do that and what they might know that I didn't know it definitely worried me. AFAIK they were all just drunk drivers (and yeah, they were really drunk). So I'm not sure how they came about this wisdom, but I respected it. Although I couldn't bring myself address them this way myself. I was terrified of them. All of them. But I just couldn't bring myself to call them "sir".

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