Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts

$57,000 Payout For Woman Charged With Wiretapping After Filming Cops 216

Posted by Soulskill
from the let-me-tell-you-what-a-wire-is dept.
mpicpp sends this news from Ars: 'A local New Hampshire police department agreed Thursday to pay a woman who was arrested and charged with wiretapping $57,000 to settle her civil rights lawsuit. The deal comes a week after a federal appeals court ruled that the public has a "First Amendment" right to film cops. The plaintiff in the case, Carla Gericke, was arrested on wiretapping allegations in 2010 for filming her friend being pulled over by the Weare Police Department during a late-night traffic stop. Although Gericke was never brought to trial, she sued, alleging that her arrest constituted retaliatory prosecution in breach of her constitutional rights. The department, without admitting wrongdoing, settled Thursday in a move that the woman's attorney speculated would deter future police "retaliation." ... The First US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (PDF) in Gericke's case last week that she was "exercising a clearly established First Amendment right when she attempted to film the traffic stop in the absence of a police order to stop filming or leave the area."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

$57,000 Payout For Woman Charged With Wiretapping After Filming Cops

Comments Filter:
  • by dr_canak (593415) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @09:36AM (#47185901)

    " settled Thursday in a move that the woman's attorney speculated would deter future police "retaliation." ... "

    But then this:

    "...that she was "exercising a clearly established First Amendment right when she attempted to film the traffic stop in the absence of a police order to stop filming or leave the area."

    Seems to imply that if the police had ordered her to stop filming or leave the area, then she could have been arrested had she continued.

    So really, doesn't this just mean that Police will now simply order people to stop filming or leave the area in order to end the filming?

  • by Type44Q (1233630) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @09:43AM (#47185925)

    Did it come out of the fucking pockets of the individuals responsible? Because if it didn't, it's definitely not going to send the needed message...

  • by Applehu Akbar (2968043) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @09:59AM (#47185967)

    With awards coming directly out of the police budget for that year - no fobbing off the penalty on the taxpayers.

  • by lagomorpha2 (1376475) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @10:02AM (#47185975)

    I've personally sat through a case where a bystander's filming was manipulated and only pieces of it brought to court. Without the full context, the film was a lie. That sent a good police officer to prison. The laws are far behind these double edged swords... whatever happened to "the full truth"?

    If the bystander had the full tape then manipulating it is evidence tampering and laws already exist to deal with this.

    Although I am not familiar with the particular case I'm skeptical that a 'good police officer' exists and if that officer had ever done the common police tactic of deleting inconvenient police car video recorder evidence then prison seems poetic justice.

  • by characterZer0 (138196) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @10:16AM (#47186027)

    It is the taxpayers' money to begin with.

    Where do you think the shortfall is going to come from? Either reduced services to taxpayers or higher fees (e.g. speed traps, bogus parking tickets, etc.).

  • by CanEHdian (1098955) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @10:27AM (#47186065)

    Exactly. You see that more often that hints are being given about circumstances that would have lead to a different outcome. Even in copyright trolling cases. Just the phrase "(hint, hint!)" is missing. So for instance it wouldn't be "Denied because it is unclear if the subscriber is the perpetrator" it becomes instead "Denied because no secondary evidence was presented where -for instance being the only adult male in the household- it could be presumed that the subscriber is the only one likely to have been the perpetrator, which would be enough evidence to grant the subpoena". As I said, only the "(hint, hint)" is missing.

    If the police orders you to "stop filming" even IF YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO DO SO, you are still not following their orders. This ALSO applies to flight attendants. It doesn't matter ONE LITTLE BIT if the order was proper, you ARE guilty of not following it.

    The CURRENT "proper way" of doing this is to follow their orders and then file a complaint at the station about the infringement on your rights. And yes, you won't have your videotaped evidence. And yes, police will likely retaliate. And no, the officer won't be immediately fired with cause. You lose.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @10:29AM (#47186077)

    I've personally sat through a case where a bystander's filming was manipulated and only pieces of it brought to court. Without the full context, the film was a lie. That sent a good police officer to prison. The laws are far behind these double edged swords... whatever happened to "the full truth"?

    It's too bad that the police don't have access to the same advanced technology that normal citizens use to make recordings.

    There is no excuse for police not having body-cams and dash-cams that signs and dates all recordings and are unalterable by the officers. (and they should have enough recording space/battery life to stay on during an entire shift so you don't end up with a situation like "Oh gee, we shot someone by mistake, but none of us remembered to turn on our cameras [sfgate.com])

    Then when a citizen's camera shows the police in a bad light, the police can counter with their own camera footage.

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @10:36AM (#47186107)
    Then the police officer's lawyer did a bad job of defending him. If exculpatory evidence existed on the original recording, the lawyer should have requested it. If that portion of the recording no longer existed, the lawyer should have objected to the evidence being admitted AND made sure to make the jury aware that significant sections were not being presented. There are ways to mount a defense against such manipulation.
  • by radiumsoup (741987) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @11:58AM (#47186403)

    in order for a police order to be enforceable, it must be a lawful order. A cop cannot order you to stop filming them performing their public duties, because doing so has already been established to be an individual right. It's practically identical to how a police officer cannot order you to answer their questions while you are being detained. They can lie to you about it (whole other argument there), but you do not have to speak at all during questioning. The only exception I know of is identifying yourself when ordered - but if you fail to identify yourself in a jurisdiction that requires it, you don't get arrested for refusing to obey a lawful order - you're arrested for failing to identify, a specifically and highly limited exemption to the 5th Amendment. If a cop arrests you for filming after he tells you to stop, consider yourself lucky - you were just handed a decent payday.

    Now, it's not OK to shove a camera in his face, mind you - stay 50 feet away if you can (unless you're the subject of the original police action and are filming for your own safety) so they can't claim that they felt threatened or that it was a matter of the blanket excuse of "officer safety". As long as a reasonable person in the same situation would not feel their safety was threatened by your filming, then you're good to go.

    oh, and IANAL.

  • by Immerman (2627577) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @12:21PM (#47186491)

    The problem is that millenia of evidence strongly suggests that a non-negligible portion of the population *are* essentially doing whatever they can get away with, and far more effectively and to greater damage than any simple animal. The failures are petty criminals, and the more successful ones become CEOs, bankers, etc. - the modern nobility. (Not that some may not be honest, but a few good apples don't redeem the bunch)

    As such anarchy can not meaningfully be a goal. "Fixing" human nature could be a goal (though I have serious doubts about the wisdom of such an endeavor), in which case well-ordered anarchy could be a natural outcome, but seeking anarchy without first addressing the problems which make it untenable is foolishness.

  • by bussdriver (620565) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @12:46PM (#47186593)

    The society is way more authoritarian than it was generations ago. Not that it ever was likely in the center.... except maybe at the beginning.

    See http://politicalcompass.org/ [politicalcompass.org] for yourself. Now it could be the "ideal" is not in the middle or is a bit authoritarian but that is a side issue, the point is that the culture is authoritarian which is why the public is goosestepping along.

    Our schools are raising kids to love the boot of authority... or at least to be used to it. Schools are more like prisons in many ways and the traditional amount of anarchy and chaos in school is being beaten down; even in the art,music,gym classrooms and for some schools the playground is even being put into "order" (if not completely eliminating recess all together which has been done where I am for elementary kids... then we wonder why so many are being called ADD and given drugs to keep them in their seats... while still giving them tons of sugar and caffeine...)

    Look at peaceable assembly. That right is almost dead. We just think "order" is more important than our rights and even "peace" has alternate meanings now... You can't peacefully protest if you make noise or fill up public space (while still allowing others to transit that space) because that isn't "peaceful" enough! You have to be invisible and THEN it is ok... completely ineffective and even then 1st chance they have they will find an excuse to invoke "order" and do anything they wish to terrorize the population into never wanting to join in a protest again. Vote every few years (if you are white and not a college student) and shut up and lick boots in between. Only lobbyists should be getting attention between elections. etc.

  • Keep in Mind (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Etherwalk (681268) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @12:49PM (#47186603)

    Keep in mind that this was in the First Circuit. (Liberal circuit, includes Boston, case law there based on cops trying to stop someone from filming *on Boston Common*). If you try this in Alabama, Nevada, or LA you are more likely to get the shit kicked out of you by the cops and then for them to arrest you.

  • by hduff (570443) <hoytduff@NosPAM.gmail.com> on Saturday June 07, 2014 @01:10PM (#47186673) Homepage Journal

    If the police orders you to "stop filming" even IF YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO DO SO, you are still not following their orders. This ALSO applies to flight attendants. It doesn't matter ONE LITTLE BIT if the order was proper, you ARE guilty of not following it.

    The CURRENT "proper way" of doing this is to follow their orders and then file a complaint at the station about the infringement on your rights. And yes, you won't have your videotaped evidence. And yes, police will likely retaliate. And no, the officer won't be immediately fired with cause. You lose.

    It is not illegal to refuse to obey an order that violates the law ("Kill that innocent bystander by order of the police!"), especially one that violates your clearly established Constitutional rights ("Surrender your Constitutional rights or face arrest!").

    Yes, you will be arrested and face retaliation, but you should prevail in court. If you don't want the hassle, obey the unlawful order.

    That said, there's a time and place for everything.

  • by OhPlz (168413) on Saturday June 07, 2014 @02:56PM (#47187049)

    If your BAC was over the limit you were lucky not to kill anybody. Drunk driving pieces of shit like you belong in prison until you learn to behave more responsibly.

    Having a couple drinks doesn't mean that someone is guaranteed to be drunk. Having a BAC over an arbitrarily set threshold also doesn't guarantee that someone is drunk. They're not drunk unless they're significantly impaired. The cop in question was doing the right thing if the driver showed no signs of impairment. The officer could have gone through the roadside sobriety test, but if there's nothing other than a slight odor, I doubt it was necessary. You're advocating zero tolerance jackbooted thuggery. Shame on you, coward.

  • Re:No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by doccus (2020662) <sgdeluxedoc&gmail,com> on Sunday June 08, 2014 @12:58PM (#47190605)
    Everybody that commented above here was right. That's why court cases take so long ;-)

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

Working...