Friday, July 16, 2010

When citizens film police, it shouldn't be a crime

USA Today
July 15, 2010

Anthony Graber admits he was breaking the law when he zipped down I-95 near Baltimore last March on his motorcycle, ignoring the speed limit and popping wheelies as he raced by slower traffic. But that's not what has him facing felony charges that could land him in prison for up to 16 years.

Graber was wearing a helmet camera that recorded his adventure — as well as the shouted orders from a plainclothes Maryland state trooper who cut him off on an exit ramp and drew his gun before announcing that he was a law officer. A week later, Graber posted the videotaped encounter on YouTube, and the law came down on him, hard.

Police searched his home and confiscated his computers. State attorney Joseph Cassilly charged him with four felony counts, chiefly with violating Maryland's wiretap law. If he's convicted, the YouTube video could land Graber in prison, strip him of his right to vote, take away his security clearance and disqualify him for some jobs for years.