We have been discussing the abusive trend across the country of police departments arresting citizens for videotaping them in public. Now, in Maryland, Circuit Court Judge Emory A Pitt Jr. has ruled that a Maryland State Trooper was wrong to arrest Anthony Graber for filming him brandishing his weapon at a traffic stop. The basis of the decision is precisely what many of us have been arguing for months (here and here and here and here): police officers have no expectation of privacy in public arrests and conduct.
The ruling turned on the interpretation of Maryland’s surveillance law but the reasoning is readily applicable to other states. Judge Pitt held “Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public. When we exercise that power in public fora, we should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation.” Bravo.
My concern is the lack of condemnation for not only the officers who brought these abusive charges but the prosecutors who fought to punish citizens for videotaping the officers. While one congressman has taken the lead in condemning these cases, Maryland officials for the most part seemed perfectly happy to let this case establish a crime of filming police.
Source: Baltimore Sun