Oh dear…felony for using a GoPro?
April 16, 2010 at 9:16 pm #3879eternal05Participant
This is a complicated situation, so for the sake of discussion, let’s ignore the fact that this guy deserved to be MAD ticketed for his riding like a tard. First off, how the hell is a plainclothes police officer allowed to pull a gun on a civilian prior to announcing being a cop during a TRAFFIC STOP? Second, a felony for recording a public official in public? Five years in prison? Really? Yeah, it was an unmarked car, but the law they spoke of applies to everybody…Talk about punishment not fitting the crime.April 16, 2010 at 10:25 pm #25787Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
The rider has both hands on the grips- how can he pull his own gun that quickly, and he did nothing to justify shooting as a self defense for the cop or bystanders.
A good lawyer for the rider might get this cop suspended or fired for breaking procedures, but the cop is probably trying to get the video thrown out of court on a technicality, because it shows illegal arrest procedure, by claiming that it was used illegally.
It would be fun to let the cop testify under oath in court first, then bring out the videotape evidence, which is why courts require that both sides see all of the legal evidence before a trial, so that witnesses do not look like total lying morons.April 16, 2010 at 10:40 pm #25788
ESPECIALLY police. That’s third-world-secret-police-dictatorship stuff.
I can understand why the cop did what he did, and can even somewhat excuse the supposed “aggressiveness” in dealing with a jackass squid like this guy, but the idea that it’s a felony to film something like this is very disconcerting to me.
I’m assuming the cop in the car behind was filming the scene with his onboard camera…I didn’t hear anyone tell the squid that *they’re* filming things.
If anything, government officials (esp. those with the legal power to kill you) need to be MORE subject to transparency requirements like being allowed to film them in performance of their *public* duties…there’s too much potential for abuse with a system where those in authority are trusted to monitor themselves.
I suspect now that this is on the news and making the rounds on the internet, Maryland is going to stop being such a hardass about it. I’m sure the officer himself isn’t pushing this (in my experience, most cops are pretty reasonable, esp. when the heat of the moment from something like this has died down), but rather the lawyers for the state.April 16, 2010 at 11:24 pm #25789
Hmm…I’m torn on this one. Yes, the officer looked like a jackass but I’m sure he is used to seeing squids flee, creating potentially life threatening situations. Is that enough to warrant pulling his gun? In this case I don’t think so considering he was in plain clothes in an unmarked car and did not identify himself immediately. I would expect the first thing they need to do is identify themselves as police. This is based on my extensive knowledge of police procedures gained from watching tv shows
I think they are more upset that the officer would have been recognizable on the online video. If he was taking down a drug dealer would it be okay for them to wear GoPro’s and post the video online? I think not. If I was a cop I wouldn’t want my mug broadcast online. Use of the video in a court is one thing, posting on YouTube is something else.
But now the cop and the whole legal system look like heavy handed assholes.April 16, 2010 at 11:44 pm #25790owlieParticipant
Hmm… Video recorded on a public street with the video posted to YouTube? He has should have strong 1st amendment defense.April 17, 2010 at 12:51 am #25793eternal05Participant
They’re not charging him with exposing an undercover operative. They’re pegging him for simply having video taped somebody (could have been anybody) with audio without that individual’s consent.
I completely agree with you. It makes sense for the police to take certain measures to keep undercover cop identities private. However, the cop knew he was on camera (I mean, how could he not with a GoPro on TOP of the guy’s helmet?), and did nothing at the time to warn him of the consequences of use of the video (at least not to our knowledge). To me that says he was not concerned about being revealed. While I think you’re right that publicly releasing compromising information should not be allowed, releasing a video showing illegal behavior by a law enforcement official should be allowed via the same means that corporate whistle blowers are allowed to reveal trade secrets. If not, there is no check against abuse of power. The police department is freaking out (I’m guessing) not because of the plain clothes officer being exposed, but because he was acting like a dick on publicly released film.
The undercover cop:
a) Did not turn on his lights or siren.
b) Ran the motorcyclist off the road.
c) Stepped out very quickly and drew his weapon immediately, while yelling at the motorcylist to dismount.
If it were me, I would have seriously considered booking it. If a guy runs you off the road and pulls a gun on you, you can only assume you’re facing extreme road rage. Yeah, that motorcyclist was a dumbass, but how was he supposed to react to that onslaught?April 17, 2010 at 1:30 am #25794TrialsRiderParticipant
The officer produced his gun at being momentarily fearful of the rider backing up his motorcycle ….I don’t get it
Assuming the black n’ white was not in sight and sound all along ( did anyone hear a siren on that tape ?) Everyone is extremely fortunate the rider did not launch that bike into that car door opening, the instant on seeing a hand gun materialize instead of a badge.April 17, 2010 at 1:37 am #25796
That thought went through my head.April 17, 2010 at 2:35 am #25798ShamRock229Participant
Plus if you see a plain clothes guy agressively pull his car in front of you and then hop out and charge you with a gun in his hand, the last thing anyone is going to say is “Wait, wait, before you potentially shoot me, rob me, or arrest me, I’m filming you right now.” And he even owned up to his speeding ticket and what not, so the only person acting irrationally imho was the officer. My grandfather, father, and uncle are cops and I have all the respect in the world for them, but in this case, he was in the wrong.
Just my opinion.April 17, 2010 at 4:21 pm #25800Sean_DParticipant
.. of someone backing up a motorcycle. If someone jumped out of a plain car with gun in hand I think I think the “fight or flight” response would kick in and backing up the motorcycle really isn’t an unreasonable step. Certainly the cop never thought to ask him if the camera was on and recording and he was never asked to turn it off. I think under the circumstances the last thing going through the riders mind was that he should turn it off. I am certainly not a lawyer, but I think the officer made a number of miss-steps and they are probably going to end up looking foolish and dropping the case in the end.April 19, 2010 at 2:37 pm #25829
…but I think that procedure for any sort of arrest is that one has to identify oneself IMMEDIATELY AND CLEARLY as a police officer, otherwise as others have stated, you have no idea who this jacked-up guy pointing a weapon at you is/what he intends.
This cop didn’t…immediately would have been hitting his lights, which it didn’t look like he did. So at the least, he didn’t follow procedure.
Also, it seems pretty clear based on the squid’s interview (he acknowledged he deserved the ticket, and was ready to pay it) that they only went after the taping violation AFTER they saw it on the internet, which makes it look more like the department was more concerned with bad publicity rather than public safety.
If the cop had told him right then that it’s illegal to film people w/o their knowledge, I highly doubt squidly would have posted it on the internet as he did.
In a lesser vein, where I live (D.C.), we’ve been having this sort of public debate with our public transit system right now. It’s been sliding downhill in service for years now, and there have lately been a number of high-profile accidents, and the issue of operators texting (!) while piloting these vehicles has reared its ugly head.
Some people have used their cell phones to catch texting train/bus drivers, and posted the videos to youtube. This enraged the transit agency…at first, they tried to block this, threatening legal action, etc. but the bad PR overwhelmed them and now they seem to be taking action to stop employees from texting while operating these vehicles. But their first instinct was to say “how dare you monitor us!”April 19, 2010 at 2:56 pm #25832
One thing that’s been puzzling me is that the TV station obviously had no problem transmitting the video, at least after obscuring the officers face. If the whole problem was the video was illegally recorded why can the TV station retransmit it? That does not make sense to me.
For me the airing of the video comes back to identifying the officer, whether undercover or not. It would be all too easy to edit out the bits where you are a jackass and then just transmit the bit where you get a richly deserved ass whooping. Those officers could then be subject to harassment when they are in the grocery store with their families. That would be a legitimate concern to me.
I’m not talking specifically about this case here as I think the cop did overreact and the authorities were heavy handed in dealing with it, but I can at least understand the need for some type of protection for them.April 19, 2010 at 4:01 pm #25836
…but a big question in these sorts of things is whether the person taped had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the given situation. It’s a fair question that holds private citizens and public officials to the same standard.
To my thinking, being on a public road brandishing a firearm doesn’t meet that criteria. If he had turned on the lights, or if he was even wearing a uniform, that would change everything. Also, the rider didn’t do anything but back himself up…if he had taken off or jumped off the bike, I think things would play out very differently.
I totally agree there are times when there’s a good reason for not being taped (undercover work, etc), but me, a traffic stop on a public road is the antithesis of that.
This particular situation is sadly one of those train wrecks where both parties didn’t think, and b/c of that, there’s headaches to go around. I hope it works out with MD dropping the charges and making sure officers don’t do this sort of thing anymore, and the guy paying his fine and thinking twice before making videos of himself breaking the law.April 29, 2010 at 5:59 am #26050kirkParticipant
Wow! Yet another example of the continued erosion of our rights. Sure the guy was speeding and he deserved a ticket but the officers actions were beyond belief to me. If I’m riding my bike/car/walking/whatever and some car cuts me off, guy gets off with a gun and comes towards me…what do you think my reaction will be? I’ll either try to run away or defend myself.
Secondly, what did the officer think the camera on top of the guys helmet was doing?
The erosion of our rights is seen in the DAs actions. Charging a guy for filming the incident? I’m glad to see that their state has the time and funds to come after a guy that filmed a police officer acting out of line. Recently in my town there was an incident in which a police officer arrested a film crew at the scene of an accident. The crew was filming when they were told they had to move. The film crew moved but kept filming as they walked away. A police officer followed them and ordered them to stop filming. They still kept moving away as ordered but protested that they were journalists and had every right to film the scene. The officer became furious, pushed them and eventually arrested them. Suffice it to say that the officer was eventually suspended and his case is pending.April 30, 2010 at 3:16 am #26068gitchy42Participant
This reminds me of a few incidents that happened here in Portland. Twice in the last few months OFF DUTY Portland Police Officers have been involved in ‘road rage’ incidents, I know that in one of them the officer upholstered his side arm, not sure about the other one.
As for this guy, I’m not so sure he’s a ‘plain-clothes’ officer like is being reported, I think that he is an off duty officer personally. Notice what happens when the cruiser pulls up? He turns, possibly to hide himself holstering his side arm?
I agree that this guy deserves a ticket, probably for speeding, also probably one for reckless driving (he wheelie’s behind a bus). But when super-cop hops out, things get scary. Last I saw the DA hadn’t decided to pursue the charges. If they do, he probably does have a great 1st Amendment case for defense. Oddly enough, the charges are likely to be for the audio in the recording, not the video, which is the part causing all of the furor. It goes back to an old political trick, if you can’t dispute the message, crucify the messenger…
Whether or not they do pursue the charges, he may even have a 4th amendment (illegal search and seizure) case. At least, that’s what I think.
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