Feeds

Man vindicated for videotaping his own traffic stop

Felony wiretapping charges tossed

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.