Feeds

Man vindicated for videotaping his own traffic stop

Felony wiretapping charges tossed

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Maryland state police were wrong to arrest and charge a man for taping his own traffic stop and posting it on YouTube, a judge ruled earlier this week.

Motorcyclist Anthony Graber was charged with illegal wiretapping for recording plainclothes state trooper J.D. Uhler jumping from his unmarked sedan and drawing his gun -- and waiting a good five seconds before identifying himself as a police officer. The tape was shot with a conspicuous, helmet-mounted camera that captured the video and audio of the confrontation.

On Monday, a Maryland state judge stated in no uncertain terms that the felony charge never should have been filed.

“Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public,” Circuit Court Judge Emory A. Plitt Jr. wrote. “When we exercise that power in a public forum, we should not expect our activity to be shielded from public scrutiny.”

The stop took place on the side of a busy highway in full view of the public.

“Under such circumstances, I cannot, by any stretch, conclude that the troopers had any reasonable expectation of privacy in their conversation with the defendant which society would be prepared to recognize as reasonable.”

In fairness to the trooper, the video shows Graber zig zagging in and out of traffic and, at one point, popping a wheelie at what appears to be close to 100 mph. The motorcyclist paid the ticket and thought that would be the end of it.

But after he posted the video on YouTube, police raided his home, hauled away his computers and the state's attorney charged him under a law that went onto the books before cell phones even existed.

Graber is one of an increasing number of US citizens who have been criminally charged for videotaping cops as they go about their official duties in public places. He was defended by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.