We have been following a dangerous trend in both the United States and abroad where citizens are arrested for taking pictures of police. Now, the Maryland State Police are accusing an Air National Guardsman named Anthony Graber of violating state surveillance laws after he captured this video of an officer pulling his weapon during a routine traffic stop.
Graber was wearing a video camera on his helmet when he was pulled over and his helmet camera captured the officer pulling out his weapon. Now, Maryland prosecutors are accusing him of violating Maryland’s two-party consent law. If you recall, this is the same law cited against the filmmaker in the Acorn scandal.
Graber was no angel in the incident to be sure. He was cited for driving at more than 100 mph on his bike and popping wheelies. The video shows him driving like an idiot.
However, police then showed up to his house more than a month later when he posted the video online.
Maryland law states in part:
” (3) It is lawful under this subtitle for a person to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication where the person is a party to the communication and where all of the parties to the communication have given prior consent to the interception unless the communication is intercepted for the purpose of committing any criminal or tortious act in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States or of this State.”
Part of the problem in this case is that Graber was filming things in public. Strong public policies implications are raised by the police arguing that they cannot be filmed in public under these laws, which were written to prevent surveillance of private communications. This is precisely the controversy in Boston (here) and the effort to prosecute should be condemned by responsible officials.
There appears to have been no charges against the officer.
Here is the entire video:
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