Open Blog | Main | Open Overnight Thread
July 27, 2010

Is Photography in Public Illegal?

Well a lot of police and security guards would like you to think so.

Here's a case out of Maryland where a man is facing 16 years in prison for violating Maryland's wiretapping laws. His crime - videotaping a MD State Trooper in plain clothes pulling a gun on him and giving him a ticket.

Back on March 5th Anthony Graber was riding his motorcycle with a videocamera attached to his helmet on I-95 and when he exited the interstate a car suddenly pulled in front of him and a man jumped out with his gun pulled. That man turned out to be an off-duty State Trooper in civilian clothes and in his personal vehicle. He identified himself and gave Graber a ticket (which he clearly deserved since he had reached speeds up to 127mph during his filming). Afterwards Graber posted the video on YouTube.

Ten days later when the officer found out about the video, the state police got an arrest warrant for Graber and raided his house early in the morning seizing all computers and video cameras. He's now facing up to 16 years in prison for taping the encounter. Apparently Maryland is one of the few states that requires approval of both parties being recorded and that's the basis for charging him with wiretapping.

Update: Progressoverpeace notes that it's the audio - not the video - that makes the state's wiretapping law apply.

Here's the video in question

So a couple of points -

1. He was clearly speeding and so deserved the ticket. It would be interesting to see what speed the officer wrote him up at.
2. The officer didn't identify himself until he was right up to the driver. I don't know what the standard police procedures are but if Graber had pulled his own weapon or fled, I would have considered that reasonable behavior under the circumstances. I'm guessing the trooper screwed up which is why he wanted the video removed.
3. It's hard to argue that the recording was surreptitious when the GoPro helmet camera was clearly visible and the officer approached the driver against his will in a public place. So the whole case seems to just be an example of police harassment.

And here's Glenn Reynolds' view on the case and harassment against public photography in general.


digg this
posted by Maetenloch at 08:21 PM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
FenelonSpoke: "And another adorable doggy photo: http://tinyur ..."

Bruce: "And the government should handle the money because ..."

Duncanthrax: "[i]I think the performance of the country, given h ..."

FenelonSpoke: "And for the cat people-a kitten who loves to swim ..."

Mr. Peebles: "[i]Who knew that you can willingly give your money ..."

Bruce: "Now this is an NFL Player I can admire: http:/ ..."

Mary Poppins' Practically Perfect Piercing: "[I]Reagan went to a school I never heard of.[/I] ..."

FenelonSpoke: "Now this is an NFL Player I can admire: http:// ..."

Bruce: "Stray dog crashes a wedding and finds his own happ ..."

ScoggDog: "[i]We've been on a path to the middle class disapp ..."

fluffy: "Pennsylvania and 'Jersey morons: ..ENHANCED TH ..."

FenelonSpoke: "Stray dog crashes a wedding and finds his own happ ..."

Recent Entries
Search


MuNuvians
Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
News/Chat
Archives
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64