Should Videotaping the Police Really Be a Crime?

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posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 11:42 AM
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Article


Anthony Graber, a Maryland Air National Guard staff sergeant, faces up to 16 years in prison. His crime? He videotaped his March encounter with a state trooper who pulled him over for speeding on a motorcycle. Then Graber put the video - which could put the officer in a bad light - up on YouTube.



It doesn't sound like much. But Graber is not the only person being slapped down by the long arm of the law for the simple act of videotaping the police in a public place. Prosecutors across the U.S. claim the videotaping violates wiretap laws - a stretch, to put it mildly.



In the Graber case, the trooper also apparently had reason to want to keep his actions off the Internet. He cut Graber off in an unmarked vehicle, approached Graber in plain clothes and yelled while brandishing a gun before identifying himself as a trooper.



Law enforcement is fighting back. In the case of Graber - a young husband and father who had never been arrested - the police searched his residence and seized computers. Graber spent 26 hours in jail even before facing the wiretapping charges that could conceivably put him away for 16 years. (It is hard to believe he will actually get anything like that, however. One point on his side: the Maryland attorney general's office recently gave its opinion that a court would likely find that the wiretap law does not apply to traffic stops.)


I actually found this on the front page of the Yahoo.com's news.

The article talks about just a few different peoples stories, but Ive heard of plenty other stories about filming the police and getting into big trouble. This Graber guy is suppoed to face wiretapping law violations? Dosent our government do that 24/7 already?

Why are some, not all, but some law enforcement agencies fighting back against the filming of police officers? Trying to hide stuff? Definantly.

Im not saying all agencies are bad, theres just always atleast 1 bad apple in a batch of apples.




posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 11:53 AM
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Can you say police state? Between the ridiculous application of laws like this one that has never been intended to be applied to this type of situation, to the actual amelioration of actual constitutional rights, like the rights we have under the decision of Miranda v. Arizona.

Its an epidemic of enormous proportions where our rights have slowly but surely have been evaporating. I feel that unless something radical happens to change our government, we are on our way to a system of governance like out of the movie V for Vendetta.



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 12:00 PM
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I would think that by now most people would realize that theres a
camera going on. or there might be-
some bodys camera could be catching everything.
and welcome to the nwo.
where anything you do or say or think,
will be used against you somehow.



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 12:01 PM
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Video Taping Police is what keeps them in check! next time they are around wipe that camara phone out and start recording! They will be 100% nicer to you



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 12:08 PM
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Gut feel here...but I'd say only if it puts an LEO in danger by, say:

1. Compromising an undercover identity or operation.

2. Interfering with the LEO's ability to perform the job.

3. Distracting or blocking to the extent that it puts the LEO and/or others in danger.

4. Compromising the privacy of people being detained/arrested/questioned.

That makes sense.



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 12:16 PM
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I for one believe its not a crime. If the police officer isnt doing anything wrong in the first place he shouldnt mind being recorded.



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 12:46 PM
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Should Videotaping the Police Really Be a Crime? The simple answer in no but I don't think anything really has a simple answer. Specifically regarding the video in the article, which was discussed on here previously, I have difficulty seeing what was wrong since he was recording himself riding that day. He didn't set out to record the cops but happened to as he got pulled over. The way it went down is questionable although I remember some comments on the previous thread that he may have known cops were following him. But that doesn't discuss the video issue.

The cops can have dash cams without our consent and purposely try to stay in view of the camera during traffic stops so why can't we do the same? It could eliminate the "he said, she said" argument entirely from both sides and isn't that one of the reasons they installed them in the first place? The courts love videos from law enforcement but not from the public? It does seem questionable and one sided. But I also think one has to take into consideration what Lucidity says. The potential sentence doesn't seem to fit the alleged crime either as murders and rapists get less time.

Yes, we live in screwed up times indeed.


Edit to add other thread



[edit on 8/4/2010 by Three_moons]



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 12:47 PM
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i could be wrong but dont allot of employers have cctv in the workplace. one of the resons being to keep an eye on their staff. who do the police work for? thats right you and me.

And then thers the fact there filming us constantly in one form or another. as someone above has already stated, if there doing there job properly then why should they worry about it?



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 12:57 PM
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reply to post by buni11687
 





One point on his side: the Maryland attorney general's office recently gave its opinion that a court would likely find that the wiretap law does not apply to traffic stops.)


The Maryland AG ought to take this BS as sign it needs to investigate this department and District attorney because any public agency that does not want to be filmed and tries to intimidate people with threats of 16 years in prison for having an accurate record of their encounter with a LEO has something to hide and is probably routinely violating peoples rights! Like cockroaches when the light of day is shined on them they try to scurry back into the darkness!

Any jury that would convict on this BS should be shot and hung and then shot again! In the mean time now this poor guy with no record has to spend his time and money trying to defend himself against this rogue agency. Maybe we ought to contribute to his legal defense fund?

[edit on 4-8-2010 by hawkiye]



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 01:00 PM
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reply to post by buni11687
 


The police video tape themselves. SO no, it should be perfectly allowed.

There's no way to get around this, since I'll take free speech over a cops reputation, but I hope people wouldn't edit tapes to make it look like cops are doing something illegal or un-ethical when they arent.



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 01:02 PM
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Originally posted by ~Lucidity
Gut feel here...but I'd say only if it puts an LEO in danger by, say:

1. Compromising an undercover identity or operation.

2. Interfering with the LEO's ability to perform the job.

3. Distracting or blocking to the extent that it puts the LEO and/or others in danger.

4. Compromising the privacy of people being detained/arrested/questioned.

That makes sense.

5. Terrorism suspect filming a police station/policed event/ect.

but yeah, that's what the "laws" are ment to do
but as usual, many of the new terror laws have been abused and twisted so that they can be applied to normal people, doing normal things. Luckily, here in the UK, the police have been told that they can't do us for filming them, unless we're getting in the way, or are a terrorist suspect. There is NO LAW in the UK to say that you can't film the police doing their job. Next time one stops you, ask them what section it's under, ask them to radio their station so they can look it up. Then watch them skulk away as in this video. Skip to 6 mins to see the clip of how to film the police.


[edit on 4/8/2010 by Acidtastic]



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 01:13 PM
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As a member of Law Enforcement here in the States I have no objection to being on camera. The agencies I have worked for all have dash mounted cameras as well as body mics. We are not (in most departments for chain of custody reasons) allowed access to the camera / audio footage. Usuaully it has to be retrieved by a supervisor or designated control officer.

With this being said, keep in mind there is a right and wrong way to do this. Pulling your cell phone camera out to video, while ignoring the officers commands, can get you in trouble. Google the internet for cell phone guns and you will see why we get uneasy. Traffic stops are one of the most dangerous things an officer can do. We do not know what we are walking into(escaped murderer, granny who just killed her hsuband, paranoid drug mule who thinks we stopped him for the 200lbs of marijuana in the trunk instead of speeding).

You do not hvae an expectation of privacy in public, so these agencies getting pissed about video ending up on youtube need to shut the hell up and sit down. If you are that concerned over your officers action, then maybe you should think twice about hiring officers of that caliber. It gives the rest of us a bad name.

The one thing you guys need to research though (after reading a lot of comments about Police action) is your rights under the law. A traffic stop is a detention, so you cant just leave.

I have had incidents where I was working a call (Traffic Control, Motor vehicle accident, backing up another agency) and people (Media and private individuals) would walk up close to the scene and start doing their thing. The issue we have with this is if its still a fluid scene, you guys are getting in the way. Does this mean you have to leave? Not exactly, but back away and give us time to do our thing without interuption. The moment someone who is not involved in my scene causes me to focus on them, they are at that point interfering, which is an officer safety issue.

I have come close to arresting news media for refusing to move to a different location on a traffic accident. I got the argument they were media and could do what they wanted. People fail to understand that while something may be news worthy, we still have a job to do. Having people walking around a scene can contaminate any evidence, making it possible to have that evidence thrown out since it was compromised (chain of custody).

While I support private citizens keeping an eye on Government, including actions by Police, please excersize common sense. If we tell you to do something, generally its not because we are being recorded, but because you are interfering.

In the end, if you feel you were treated badly, then contact the appopriate agency and fill out a complaint. Internal Affairs are generally required by statute / ordinance to investigate those claims.

If you feel you were unfairly charged (speeding ticket etc), do NOT argue with the officer ( I have had people do this to me - The issue comes down to enforcement of law. We enforce the law using application of. Just because we charge someone with a crime does not mean it will stick (updated case law, Attorney General Opinions of how a law should be intended to be enforced, opinions of Prosecuting attorneys).

The Judge is the person you want to make your case to if it gets to that level.

Are there moron cops out there - Absolutely

Remeber though there is a time and place for everything.

Edited for Lysdexia... err Dyslexia

[edit on 4-8-2010 by Xcathdra]



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 01:14 PM
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This guy needs a better attorney or legal representation because there is no way he should be penalized to this extent for the violations committed.

Granted he was driving recklessly, but ....

What law/statute states that owning and operating a video camera illegal on a vehicle ? Especially when:

1.) LEO use them and
2.) When a life threatening crime/threat, namely assault with a deadly weapon is about to be committed ?

Technically speaking, the LEO was unmarked and approached the defendant brandishing a deadly weapon, which is a life threatening act and could be deemed as an act or terrorism, kidnapping or a deadly assault.

As a common citizen as being alone, he has a right to continue to record with his legally operated camera for the use of documenting the event to be used as evidence in prosecuting his potential assailant in a court of law.

It's Ridiculous what the Bullies with a Badge gang can get away with in our corrupt injustice system.

Where's the Serve and Protect ?



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 01:19 PM
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Originally posted by nh_ee


This guy needs a better attorney or legal representation because there is no way he should be penalized to this extent for the violations committed.

Granted he was driving recklessly, but ....

What law/statute states that owning and operating a video camera illegal on a vehicle ? Especially when:

1.) LEO use them and
2.) When a life threatening crime/threat, namely assault with a deadly weapon is about to be committed ?

Technically speaking, the LEO was unmarked and approached the defendant brandishing a deadly weapon, which is a life threatening act and could be deemed as an act or terrorism, kidnapping or a deadly assault.

As a common citizen as being alone, he has a right to continue to record with his legally operated camera for the use of documenting the event to be used as evidence in prosecuting his potential assailant in a court of law.

It's Ridiculous what the Bullies with a Badge gang can get away with in our corrupt injustice system.

Where's the Serve and Protect ?



I forgot to comment on that part - Someone stated it was possible they did not want the officer to be shown since he might be undercover. I am sorry but if you are undercover, you would not be doing what that officer did unless it was some type of huge public safety issue. So arguing the video should not be released based on that is carp. If you have an undercover do this, then again, you need to look at the caliber of people your agency is hiring.

The issue with recording came from a state in the NorthEast - Mass I think. They have a law that prevents audio recording unless both parties consent (my state only 1 party has to be aware). That was the reason they had for going after the guy. The guys lawyer has noted that under Mass Law, it does not give LEO an exception, so it should be intrsting to see how that turns out.

Not all cops are bad people. A few give the rest of us a bad name, and it annoys the piss out of me when it ends up on the news.

As a side note, your cooment that the guy has a right to video tape is incorrect, and I would ask you to show me where that "right" is located. Like I said, there is a time and place for everything. Refusing to obey a lawful command (IE put the phone down while I do my thing) can get you arrested. Law Enforcement works under a very strict set of rules, and contrary to popular belief we cant just take you in for questioning.

Excersize common sense.

[edit on 4-8-2010 by Xcathdra]



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 01:20 PM
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reply to post by ~Lucidity
 


Not a bad list at all. But here is the issue I have with it.. Who is to say when any of those are violated?

Usually its LEO's

Would LEO's ever say, OK - you can film this interaction? Given the level of arrests over doing that and the number of items returned with missing footage, etc - I'd have to guess "Not Very Often".

It all comes down to trust.

There are good citizens and bad citizen out there. There are good cops and bad cops out there. The problem is there is not really any clear way for the public or LEO to know if they are dealing with a good one or a bad one until the incident is underway.

Film gives the public evidence if the LEO steps out of line. Film gives the LEO evidence if the public steps out of line.

The government and LEO's film / record the public in various ways 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The public can never assume privacy in any matter it seems.

If this lack of privacy is questioned the typical response by the government and LEO's is usually something along the line of - "If you are not doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?"

Shouldn't the same question apply to LEO's and Government?

If you are not doing anything wrong in your interaction with citizens, what do you have to hide?




[edit on 4-8-2010 by Frogs]



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 01:21 PM
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they arrest them in public.
not in privet!
the cops video to!
and get in trouble for what they do!
they are using to law to hide There crimes.
they are public servants.
PUBLIC...

wire tap?
they They Must stop all filming of US.

[edit on 4-8-2010 by buddha]



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 01:29 PM
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I think citizens should be allowed to video tape police, but like an above poster said, use common sense.

Give the officer some distance so he can do his job. If someone is really close up, they could end up stepping on/messing up some evidence. I wouldnt say videotape an undercover officer either.

Basically, as long as the officer can do his job without the person with the camera interfering, then I say its okay. And use common sense. Dont run up to the officer and start yelling in his face or anything.

Edit - And with threatening the guy in the story with wiretapping violations with 16 years in prison, thats really extreme. The guy had never even been arrested before.

[edit on 4-8-2010 by buni11687]

[edit on 4-8-2010 by buni11687]



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 01:29 PM
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reply to post by Frogs
 


You do not have an expectation of private while being in public. Second, driving is a privelage, not a right, and therefore when you get your dirvers license you are doing it under the rules set in place by the Government.

Anything we do that is logged with dispatch is a matter of public record (traffic stops, arrest, etc - although there are a few exceptions to this - juvenile issues etc).

To clarify a statement. The Legislature makes the Laws. Law Enforcement, which is part of the Executive, enforces those laws. We do have some ability to say based on these circumstances, the incident falls under this criminal statute. In the end, its the Judicial, namely the prosecuting attorney, who will review the case submitted and decide if the charges are warranted or if the law was not intended for that type of us. If they decide it was and it goes to court, the Judge or Jury can decide from there what happens.

If ruled against, it creates whats called case law, meaning if someone else is charged the same way, there is already and established ruling saying no.

As far as saying if you are not doing anything wrong, then why worry - I hate this statement with a passion. You are innocent until proven guilty in this country, and I for one am not willing to give that up just because someone tells me if I have not done anything wrong, then I should cooperate.

Cops have to have a reason for doing what they do. Whether it is the right reason or not is always open for debate based on interpretation of the Laws of this country.

The best defense against an intrusive Government is to take part in the process, and vote for people who share your ideas and goals. Without participation, you are allowing your rights to be watered down.



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 01:32 PM
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reply to post by buni11687
 


How on earth did this escalate from a traffic stop to searching his home and seizing his computers? There is something seriously wrong with my state, and I'm not precisely reassured to read spies from the huge complex in Ft. Meade take their surveillance vans out into our neighborhoods just to "practice". (when I get back on my pc I'll try to source that statement but for now all I can say is I read of it on an online version of a Washington Post article.)

I was raised to respect and honor our police force and for the most part I still do. There are some wonderful police out there and I appreciate the times they've served my community and my family. But some are psychotic and we don't need to be stretching a law that was intended for a completely unrelated circumstance to bully citizens who at most are only legitimately guilty of a traffic violation.

As for psychotic cops, once I was walking my dog along the side of a residential street. I had pooperscoops clearly in hand so anyone who could possibly object to people walking their dogs and letting them foul public streets would know my intentions were honorable. I was dressed like any respectable suburban mom and at any rate my dog was not pooping and we were not obstructing traffic. But along came a county cop in his big white county cop car and he actually swerved to try to hit me and my dog. There was no mistaking his intentions. My dog and I jumped to the curb just in time. I was too shaken and surprised to try to get ID on the car. In Fact I was scurrying for cover because I was afraid he was going to turn around and come for me again. I have one other similar story and it might even have been the same cop. That's a longer story though. I'm always teased by family and friends for being a goody-two-shoes. If a little suburban mom like me can have such scary brushes with the police then anybody is fair game and we need to retain some means to defend ourselves from lying crooked psychos with authority whose words count far more than ours in a court of law.



posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 01:36 PM
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Originally posted by Miraj
reply to post by buni11687
 


The police video tape themselves. SO no, it should be perfectly allowed.

There's no way to get around this, since I'll take free speech over a cops reputation, but I hope people wouldn't edit tapes to make it look like cops are doing something illegal or un-ethical when they arent.


Case in point is the Rodney King incident. All that was shown was the section with the cops. What they did not show was the 7 minutes prior to that where they tried everything under the son to get the guy under control. The use of force review, if i remeber right, found that only 1 officer violated department policy, and that was the person who raised the baton above their head before delivering the impact.

By its very nature, Law Enforcement is a violent profession. Without any type of training / understanding of what it is we can do and cannot do, the public will view it as nothing more than a bunch of cops beating a person.

I have fought with people who were on PCP. It took 13 officers to get the guy under control. We could not use a taser due to the number of officers present. Now, had media recorded that and showed it, how do you think it would of played? 13 cops beating a man down. Generally speaking, rank and file officers will be the ones who are on camera, since they are the ones responding to the call. However, we are generally not allowed to speak to the media.

See the inherent flaw with this? We are there, dealing with a problem, and have all the info (most of the time) but we are not allowed to speak to media (which I am ok with since anything stated could jeopradize the investigation). The media takes what they have, gleaned by overhearin conversations and what comes across the scanner, and puts "their" story together, which is usually incorrect.





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