We have been following the continuing arrests and even prosecutions of citizens who film police in public. (For prior columns, click here and here). Despite consistent rulings upholding the right of citizens to film police in public, these abuses continue. The latest has a different twist. Andrew Henderson not only had his camera taken from him by police in Little Canada, Minnesota but he was charged with violating the the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) by filming officers responding to a call.
Henderson, 28, was filming Ramsey County deputies arresting a man when his camera was confiscated by a deputy, Jacqueline Muellner, who suddenly announced “We’ll just take this for evidence.” She also warned Henderson that “If I end up on YouTube, I’m gonna be upset.”
Henderson says that he later went to the police station to retrieve the camera and found that it had been erased. He was then charged a week later for obstruction of legal process and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. Notably, the deputy recorded on the citation, “While handling a medical/check the welfare (call), (Henderson) was filming it. Data privacy HIPAA violation. Refused to identify self. Had to stop dealing with sit(uation) to deal w/Henderson.”
That is of course ridiculous since HIPAA provisions deal with health care providers handling consumers’ health information. A lawyer from Little Canada insists that there was no deletion of the film. However, it is a bit odd that Henderson would be pointing a camera at the scene (and prompting the intervention of the officer) without actually filming the scene.
Henderson is a welder and is representing himself in court. The question is not only the abuse of the arrest but compounding of the abuse by actually charging and prosecuting the citizen.
Source: Twin Cities