Minnesota Man Criminally Charged After Filming Police in Public

user2593-1250187527--Ramsey_County_badgeWe 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

48 thoughts on “Minnesota Man Criminally Charged After Filming Police in Public”

  1. Here is someting many of you all might find to be a refreshing change of police procedures.

  2. Nick:

    Laziness is certainly one of the reasons, but sometimes blind ignorance is another.

    I found in my former career that serving large banks with search warrants for banking records resulted in the most resistance of all.

    I had several times where I was investigating a bank fraud case against one of their account holders, and obtained a search warrant from a judge. The branch manager initially would refuse to cooperate saying that I had to serve their corporate office in another state even though the defendant’s accont was at that branch or other excuses they would come up with.

    I reminded them this was a court order and their procedural policies were not relevant and again it met with resistance. It usually took about 15 or 20 minutes of explaining that it was mandatory and they could be held in contempt of court or worse if they did not comply before they would.

    Small banks and other businesses were easy to deal with. I just handed them the info and they said they would have the documents ready for me the next day.

  3. It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you just shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  4. blhlls, I agree. I was merely thinking like a horseshit cop and coming up w/ pretext reasons to disallow videotaping. Maybe the role is Barnus Fifus Advocatus

  5. Nick S.: If you share medical information with a health care provider (and various other specified organizations/persons), the health care provider may not disclose it. However, if you do so in front of third parties, those third parties are not so restricted. Here, the photographer was lawfully present in a public place. He is free to document and communicate what he observed while there.

  6. “Public officials performing public duties in public places have no reasonable expectation of privacy.”

    And there’s the heart of it.

  7. Waldo, I totally agree w/ you on the absurdity of the HIPPA excuse. However, allow me to play diablo advocatus. Assuming the camera was video w/ sound. They would claim any private medical info discussed would have been privileged, like “I’m bipolar”. That’s the type of back flips bureaucrats will do to remain in control.

  8. Public officials performing public duties in public places have no reasonable expectation of privacy. If the law were to permit the arrest of private citizens filming or photographing the activity involved in this case, it could also permit the arrest of private citizens merely viewing that activity, a facially absurd position. Therefore, the only reason for a police officer to confiscate a camera from a bystander (in the absence of actual interference by the bystander) is to prevent the memorialization of the conduct of the officer.

  9. The HIPPA charge seems blatantly ridiculous to me. If there’s any HIPPA violation, it’s for the unauthorized disclosure of protected information. The guy with the camera is not disclosing anything because he doesn’t know anything. Perhaps the cop is disclosing some protected info that he’s not authorized to do so, but then this would be a violation by the cop.

  10. What a bunch of BS Cameron. How does being videotaped interfere with police doing their job? The only reason cops hate being videotaped is because if they’re breaking the rules, it is evidence of their misconduct. Good cops have nothing to be worried about. Only the bad cops have reason to be concerned, and if this causes them to look for other work, then so much the better.

  11. Cameron-
    No, I wouldn’t have any problem with someone videotaping me in public. I don’t have any expectation of privacy when I’m in public, neither should police.

    It’s hard for me to chalk this one up as yet another “bad apple” when the good apples in uniform don’t condemn garbage like this.

  12. Cameron I guess that you would al so be opposed to the filming of the Rodney King beating which turned out to be a federal civil rights violation with the cops sentenced to federal prison. But Cameron, I guess they were just doing their job. Are you son incredibly naive to believe that the police never violate the civil rights of a citizen?

  13. There are several companies that provide upload to the web while the filming is occurring. (cell phone)This is different than uploading later. The services are free, one being from the ACLU. All this because there is no problem…move along..nothing to see here.

  14. genevieve, As stated previously, EMT’s and paramedics use HIPPA so as to not be interviewed. It should come as no shock to anyone who has dealt w/ government workers that their first, second, and third inclination is to NOT release information. And, the primary motivation is not anything sinister..it’s mere laziness. I worked in Wi. that has a superb open records law. However, I had to battle on a daily basis w/ some govt. officials[elected County Sheriff’s being the worst] to get records I KNEW were discoverable. Laziness, followed by control are the two major reasons.

  15. perhaps a little course on what HIPAA actually is/covers, is in order. i hear all too often that “we can do that because of HIPAA”, from people who have NOTHING to do with health insurance. all HIPAA does is cover the health care providers who must share protected information with the insurance in order to get paid! it doesn’t mean confidentiality of the police doing a welfare check!

    and why in this instance could the police just take the person’s camera away? police cannot just seize items from innocent bystanders, can they?

  16. Here’s another link, Cameron:


    I’m a law-abiding professional, Cameron, and some of the activities in which some police officers are currently involved would make heads spin, if known. I never would have believed some of the garbage if I hadn’t seen it for myself. So film, film, film, good citizens.

    If police, first-responders, firefighers, etc. don’t want to be filmed, then they should find another line of work.

  17. If the job of police is too tough, tell them to get another job. We have a right to film them out there making arrests or eating donuts and if they dont like it they can shove the donuts. Hmm, a video of that would be good too.

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