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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @01:30PM (#42534597)

    > confiscated his video camera, stating, 'We'll just take this for evidence,'
    > Supposedly the footage was deleted from the camera while in police custody.

    So... where is the "destruction of evidence" charge?

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Scutter (18425) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @01:40PM (#42534703) Journal

    Stop voting for the prosecutors who lack integrity. I blame voters who don't pay any attention to the candidates for whom they vote. They vote for whichever name sounds the best.

  • by alexander_686 (957440) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @01:41PM (#42534709)

    So, let me ask the flip question – one that I have been struggling with. Should public officials have privacy while on duty? Probably not. But what about citizens? How do we protect their rights?

    If I were Rodney King I would want my arrest to be videotaped. Check on the power of the police – that fine.

    A good phone should be able to eavesdrop on the private interview between suspect and cop.

    And, what if I did not want the tape to be posted? Maybe I did something shameful and don’t want it to be public? Maybe something that is implied to be shameful – like a false arrest. Let’s say you were pulled over for a moving violation in a red light district? A little careful editing and it could look very bad.

  • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @01:43PM (#42534745)

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

    Fixed that for ya.

    Well, at least he can no longer be charged without any evidence, right? Or are they trying to charge him with HIPAA violation without a video that he allegedly recorded?

    Seriously, when did it become acceptable that evidence can just disappear in police custody? I know it is not the same as 11 (or was it 17?) police cruiser cameras malfunctioning simultaneously but still.

  • Re:Mix (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @01:49PM (#42534843) Journal

    Allowing the police to avoid being observed and recorded has consequences that affect society as a whole. That's really bad.

    Allowing the police to enforce the privacy of someone they're arresting only really affects those few who are arrested. Arrest being an offical duty by a public official, should not really carry any sort of reasonable expectation of privacy. And whatever is captured on video actually happened, so there are no legitimate concerns of libel or slander. On the whole, this is not that bad.

    I think it's clear where the balance lies. I would rather have a 100% chance of any future interaction between myself and law enforcement to be recorded and distributed on the internet than risk the slightest chance of police getting away with brutality. Allowing video might reveal some crazy shit I actually did. Prohibiting video might conceal some crazy shit the police actually did.

    Of course, in some jurisdictions a police officer can be caught on tape sodomizing a prisoner with a tazer [huliq.com] and suffer nothing but "additional training". So YMMV.

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @01:55PM (#42534957)
    There needs to be a new law that makes it clearly illegal for the police to interfere with someone recording them in a public place. Given the fact that police can be menacing it should be illegal for them to even ask you to stop or actively try to block you. In the same way they can't continue to ask you questions once you invoke your right to have an attorney present and have invoked your right to silence. The penalty for the law should be multi fold. Potential felony for the cop but also a minimum fine partially payable to the victim. This would serve to get more people videoing the police and the insult of the police having to write out checks to people they tried to intimidate would be golden.

    The next tier of offense would be if the police then erase the video. With that there should be a minimum mandatory sentence along with a huge fine, again with much going to the victim.

    Lastly there should be no exceptions tossed in as the slightest wedge given to the police would be abused to hell; So no being able to say it is evidence. If someone videos the police then the video should be as sacrosanct as client attorney privilege; if they want to youtube it then fine if they want to keep it safe then their choice.

    It all boils down to information is power. Previously it was the whole your word against a policeman's which basically made their side of a story the only side of a story. But now the public has massive power not only through the video but through the near frictionless ability to distribute that video. 20 years ago if you were to say video the police pulling over a clearly drunk powerful politician even the local media might not touch that video assuming the police let you walk 5 feet away with it. Now you put it on youtube and the police suddenly do their job and charge the politician and while the prosecutor might not go for the throat will at least go through the minimum motions.

    But all arguments that this somehow interferes with the police being able to do their jobs is false. The police have the clear ability to abuse or not abuse their power. But someone videoing the police does not change what happens they are not able to create abuse they can potentially try to show something out of context or add a colourful commentary but most people aren't stupid and will see through that in a flash. My guess is that any policeman that gets frustrated with being recorded is a policeman who doesn't want to be forced to obey the rules or knows they just broke the rules. They are lashing out because of frustration not because they think they are in the right.

    This all reminds me of a local Indian restaurant lashing out after being closed for a zillion health violations; they argued that the health inspectors didn't understand Indian cooking nor did they think the health inspectors had any right to be in their kitchens. They argued that their insurance didn't cover health inspectors only employees, that the health inspectors were exaggerating, and that the inspection reports should not be public as the public wouldn't understand them. These all sound like the arguments that police make against recording them.
  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:01PM (#42535043)

    It's noted that the person being arrested was having a mental health breakdown. Photographing people having that and then posting it online is usually classified as "cyber bullying".

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

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:02PM (#42535083) Journal

    All cops are either bullies, liars, or thugs. They are required to be bullies by the existance of sumptuary laws like those against cannabis. If they enforce those laws they are bullies. If they refuse to enforce those laws, they are liars. QED.

    As long as there are bad laws, police will be bad people.

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:39PM (#42535853) Homepage Journal

    We need legislation that not only enshrines the right to record any and all public officials, but adds severe consequences to any violation of law by law enforcement personnel.

    FTFY.

    I, for one, am sick and tired of seeing corrupt cops literally getting away with murder (and every crime between). Time to bring the Blue Wall of Silence crashing down.

  • Legal defense fund? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:39PM (#42535873)

    If someone sets up a legal defense fund, I'd be happy to chip in.

    I'd also chip in for a fund to pay for going after that deputy and that police department.

  • Re:sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:45PM (#42535991) Homepage Journal
    With that in mind....

    Does NO ONE out there have their phone to automatically 'lock', and have their password be longer than 4x numbers?

    A cop gets my phone...will take them more than casual effort to get into it, no?

    Hell, last time I got pulled over, and was asked to get out of the car, I dropped the phone down beside the seat, and when I stepped out of the car, I locked it behind me, and no...if they had asked, I would not have given consent for search.

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

    by N0Man74 (1620447) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:46PM (#42536027)

    It's my impression that Police culture, much like Military culture, heavily frowns on ratting out another member of your group, even if you know they did something wrong... especially if they do something wrong.

    Perhaps having a collective group whose mission is to take out bad guys, and seeing bad guys constantly, creates a very stong "us" and "them" driven ethos.

  • by DynamoJoe (879038) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:53PM (#42536143)
    Doesn't the justin.tv app stream to a remote server while it's recording? Good luck deleting the video there, officer.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:54PM (#42536155)

    Their job can be dangerous

    Which explains why I'm not allowed to film loggers, pilots, miners, roofers, fishermen, pizza drivers, or any of several other professions that carry an even higher risk [riskmanage...onitor.com] of on-the-job fatalities.

    No, police officers are just better at whining about how dangerous their job is.

  • Re:sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dr Damage I (692789) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:33PM (#42536983) Journal
    The police already have dash cam videos and the sanctity of police testimony on their side. They don't need the protection of members of the public recording them and recordings made by members of the public that are inconvenient cannot be made to disappear.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0111 1110 (518466) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:48PM (#42537233)

    Well after being severely beaten and nearly killed by an angry cop and nearly getting several years in prison for made up charges I am moving to somewhere very remote, with very loose gun laws (so that I can protect myself against cops), and where coming into contact with the police at all is much less likely. For me, it's either that or leaving the country. America has some of the most violent, dangerous, corrupt, and angry cops in the world. And they are both well armed and well protected with body armor. How I long for a place where cops are just normal people doing a job. Somewhere where the majority of cops are not sociopaths with no feelings of remorse and no conscience. Was there ever a time when cops in America actually had a sense of right and wrong like they often have in the movies and on TV? American cops don't even respect the very laws they are supposed to enforce. At least when it applies to themselves.

  • Re:sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nyder (754090) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @07:50PM (#42540689) Journal

    Well after being severely beaten and nearly killed by an angry cop and nearly getting several years in prison for made up charges I am moving to somewhere very remote, with very loose gun laws (so that I can protect myself against cops), and where coming into contact with the police at all is much less likely. For me, it's either that or leaving the country. America has some of the most violent, dangerous, corrupt, and angry cops in the world. And they are both well armed and well protected with body armor. How I long for a place where cops are just normal people doing a job. Somewhere where the majority of cops are not sociopaths with no feelings of remorse and no conscience. Was there ever a time when cops in America actually had a sense of right and wrong like they often have in the movies and on TV? American cops don't even respect the very laws they are supposed to enforce. At least when it applies to themselves.

    But in previous posts on slashdot you've already claimed that you got beat by cops for talking smack to them. While it sucks you got beat down, I think you should accept that you provoked it.

    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.

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