Leo's, would like your input, UPDATED

Henry455

Member
May 21, 2010
513
Houston, TX
This is not about what transpired in the video because we have no idea what caused the motorcyclist to be stopped but what is your view of citizens recording your actions? I am not in law enforcement so would like your input.


"Online Posting of Motorcyclist's Traffic Stop Sets Off Debate on Wiretap Law."


Wiretap laws are drawing scrutiny in the age of YouTube as the case of a Maryland motorcyclist, who was arrested for recording and posting online a traffic stop, raises questions about whether citizens have the right to record their own encounters with police.Civil liberty groups say police are abusing a statute, designed to protect people's privacy from government intrusion, by preventing citizens from recording their own activities.But law enforcement officials say recordings of confrontations with police may violate wiretap laws that require two-party consent.


Maryland is one of 12 states that requires two-party consent, meaning all parties must agree before a recording is made if a conversation occurs where there is a "reasonable expectation of privacy."The other states are California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.The laws were created decades ago before the digital age."There's a clear case that they're outdated," David Rittgers, a legal policy analyst with the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute, told FoxNews.com.The right to record police officers has been upheld by state supreme courts in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington and Illinois -- although Illinois lawmakers later made it illegal to record anyone without consent.Federal law requires only one-party consent, as do the other 38 states and the District of Columbia.In Maryland, the issue is trickier because a 2003 consent decree with the state ACLU over racial profiling requires state troopers to record traffic stops themselves, using dashboard cams that were installed in all patrol cars. Still, that hasn't stopped police from warning cameramen about their recordings.


In a YouTube video last month, a Baltimore cop at the Preakness horse race told a cameraman that it was illegal to record several officers subduing a woman who began bleeding during the confrontation.In the case of the motorcyclist, Anthony Graber, a Maryland Air National Guardsman, drew national attention when he posted a video in March showing plainclothes Maryland State Trooper Joseph D. Uhler with his gun drawn pulling him over on a speeding and reckless driving violation.After Graber, 25, posted the video, the state police charged him with violating the state's wiretap law because his helmet camera recorded the audio of the stop, which is illegal in Maryland.Graber faces up to 16 years in prison if found guilty of all charges. A hearing is scheduled in October.Maryland State Policeman Greg Shipley said at a news conference that the officer was acting appropriately."He held that gun at his side momentarily," Shipley said. "When he saw the situation was under control, he quickly put it away, never pointed at the individual and we think he acted appropriately."Explaining the arrest under the wiretap law, Shipley said, "He had been recording this trooper audibly without his consent."


The ACLU of Maryland has come to the defense of Graber, calling the prosecution "profoundly dangerous" and seemingly intended to "intimidate people from making a record of what public officials do.""It is hard to imagine anything more antithetical to a democracy than for the government to tell its citizens that they do not have the right to record what government officials say or do or how they behave," David Rocah, staff attorney for ACLU, said in a written statement last month.ACLU Legal Director Deborah Jeon argues that cops performing their duties in a public place, such as an interstate highway, cannot reasonably claim that their communications are private."This is especially true for highway stops, since many police departments, including the Maryland State Police, record the stops themselves, thus negating any possibility that the officer would reasonably believe the conversation to be private," she said.But the Maryland State Police say the jury is still out on that."That seems to be the question on everyone's mind as this case is tried," Maryland State Police spokeswoman Elena Russo told FoxNews.com.Rittgers called the Graber case "an abuse of police power." He said that regardless of the outcome in Graber's case, the police have won."Even if there's no conviction in Graber's case, the deterrent that the officers wanted to have is established," he said. "People will be afraid to film police officers in these states because of the threat of prosecution."
 

Stendec

Member
May 21, 2010
816
First, I wouldn't do anything in public that i wouldn't mind being broadcast. People may not always understand why certain things are done a certain way, but that's what good PIOs and the ability to articulate the nuances behind actions are so important.


Then, I think that calling the recording of things done in public "wiretapping" is a huge stretch of laws meant to protect private communications. It's legally black and white that there isn't an expectation of privacy when in public, particularly when it's a public servant performing a public function.


There are obvious exceptions when undercover work is involved or when the public dissemination of images or information could interfere with an investigation or pose a risk to someone's safety.
 

tnems7

Member
May 21, 2010
407
USA Nashville Tennessee
Stendec, I agree with you. And if law enforcement agencies can record it, why not the accused. Fortunately, I live in a state with single party consent.


Now posting the recording may be another issue, and they may be the matter before the courts.


A different recording may also allow evidence to be subpoenaed that could support the officers actions, such as mutterances from the suspect that were not picked up on the officer's audio.
 

JohnMarcson

Administrator
May 7, 2010
10,806
Northwest Ohio
Stendec said:
First, I wouldn't do anything in public that i wouldn't mind being broadcast.

+1
 

Cam

Member
May 20, 2010
247
MO
I'm not sure how you can have an expectation of privacy when you are in public and in this case on public land.
 
May 21, 2010
1,176
NJ & IA
There was a discussion about this on the old board, however it is my understanding that in MD, you need to have the recorded party's consent prior to starting filming. The discussion was extensive but that is what it boils down to.
 

mcpd2025

Member
May 20, 2010
1,557
Maryland, USA
Yea, MD requires both parties consent, in both circumstances the defendants violated the law and are facing the consequences of thier illegal actions.


I like the law because it protects me. Whatever I record cannot be altered. My car camera and mic are digitally recorded and saved on a flash drive in a locked box in my trunk that I don't have access to. The video and audio then get uploaded directly to the county server and stored securely where nobody can change what was captured. Whatever someone else records can be edited, words moved around etc. It is very easy to peace together an otherwise legitimate conversation and make it seem controversial.
 

UndercoverVLS

Member
Jun 1, 2010
337
NY
Holy large firearm :shock: :shock: Seems like a gray area to me. I thought the video was going to be a traffic stop with the guy holding a camera in the cops face and not really listening which I feel is wrong. But this case just seems gray, ill leave it at that. Im always pro police but will express what I feel is wrong. The no visible shield is a disaster waiting to happen...
 

cpdchief

Member
May 22, 2010
98
Madison County, AL
mcpd2025 said:
Yea, MD requires both parties consent, in both circumstances the defendants violated the law and are facing the consequences of thier illegal actions.

I like the law because it protects me. Whatever I record cannot be altered. My car camera and mic are digitally recorded and saved on a flash drive in a locked box in my trunk that I don't have access to. The video and audio then get uploaded directly to the county server and stored securely where nobody can change what was captured. Whatever someone else records can be edited, words moved around etc. It is very easy to peace together an otherwise legitimate conversation and make it seem controversial.

OK, so explain this to me... If MD requires two party consent, how do you legally operate a camera in your patrol car? Is there an exeption in the law for LEO's? Is there a court ruling that allows this?


And how does this law protect you, other than if you are acting a fool?


Like has been said above, don't do anything in public you don't want to see on you-tube.
 

mcpd2025

Member
May 20, 2010
1,557
Maryland, USA
Like I said, I notify everyone before hand that they are being audio recorded. If they do not wish to speak, they are not obligated to speak, however they do have to obey my commands. The law protects me because my video can't be turned off in the middle of an incident or the audio taken out or the video edited or altered in any way.


John Q Public can take a video with his cell phone and edit out anything that he wants, including the suspect reaching for a weapon, assaulting me, assaulting someone else, disobeying orders, threatening me, inciting someone else against me, etc etc. Those types of videos are not an accurate assessment of how the situation unfolded. Also, video taken from another direction than mine potentially shows things that I cannot see and does not show things that I can see.


Thanks for the tip, but I am a smart enough and ethical enough officer that I don't worry about my actions, when taken in full scope, being seen by the public. I've been doing this job long enough to know right from wrong and can usually keep my emotions in check.
 

Henry455

Member
May 21, 2010
513
Houston, TX
Videotaping of Trooper


Updated: Tuesday, 28 Sep 2010, 8:12 AM EDT


Published : Monday, 27 Sep 2010, 9:06 PM EDT


By BEN NUCKOLS Associated Press Writer


BALTIMORE - A judge threw out criminal charges Monday against a Maryland man who videotaped his traffic stop by a plainclothes state trooper and posted the video on YouTube.


Anthony J. Graber III had been indicted under Maryland's wiretap law, which requires the consent of both parties to record a private conversation. His video shows the trooper pulling his gun and telling Graber to get off his motorcycle before he identifies himself as a police officer.


Harford County Circuit Judge Emory A. Plitt Jr. ruled that the wiretap law did not apply to a traffic stop because the conversation was not private.


"In this rapid information technology era in which we live, it is hard to imagine that either an offender or an officer would have any reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to what is said between them in a traffic stop on a public highway," Plitt wrote.


Harford County State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly, who obtained the indictment against Graber, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.


State police spokesman Greg Shipley said the agency respects the judge's ruling and that troopers will be made aware of it. Troopers who suspect a violation of the wiretap law have been told to present the case to prosecutors before pursuing charges, he added.


Graber, 25, still faces traffic charges including reckless driving and negligent driving stemming from the March arrest. He had been recording himself riding on his motorcycle with a camera mounted on his helmet before he was pulled over on an Interstate 95 exit ramp.


After he posted the video, state police obtained a search warrant and seized his computer and other items. Graber was indicted in April.


"This ruling upholds the fundamental right to hold police accountable to the public and constitutional principles they serve," said attorney David Rocah of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, who represented Graber along with a team of private attorneys who took the case pro bono.
 

Ben E.

Member
May 21, 2010
2,417
Iowa, USA
Record away, I say. I don't fuck around so I wouldn't mind seeing myself on youtube being professional. As long as the camera isn't getting shoved in my face, touching me, or causing interference with my work, you're good to go.
 

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