Maryland Police charge man with wire tapping for filming off-duty cop during stop

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by splashnader, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. splashnader macrumors 6502a


    Jul 1, 2008
    Via Satellite

    So my question is this. If I am pulled over in Maryland by a police officer and his/her dash camera records my "private" conversation on video, can I swear out a warrant against that police officer. That is if I do not give my consent to be videotaped or recorded.
  2. 184550 Guest

    May 8, 2008
    Are you a Maryland Police Officer? No?

    Then the answer to your question is 'No'.
  3. spillproof macrumors 68020


    Jun 4, 2009
    This story is disgusting and it infuriates me.

    The cop could easily see he had a camera on his helmet and there was no reason to draw a gun BEFORE mentioning he was a cop. He could have drawn his badge.

    Unfortunately, as lowly citizens, we do not get this option.
  4. splashnader thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 1, 2008
    Via Satellite
    I was being sarcastic. My point is that on a normal traffic stop the conversation is already being recorded by the cops. And a traffic stop on public property would give the cop no reasonable expectation of privacy.
  5. Shotgun OS macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2006
    Maybe I'm just ignorant, but what is wrong with videotaping the policeman? I mean, I know it's "against the law", but why is it against the law?
  6. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
  7. awmazz macrumors 65816

    Jul 4, 2007
    Does the wiretapping law apply only to recorded conversations, or images as well? The question is whether anybody taking a photo or video with a Maryland cop in it can be sent to prison for 16 years? Tourists be warned!

    And also, not just of cops, if anyone takes a video of any another person without them knowing and posts it on youtube, will they have six cops raiding their home and confiscating camera, computer and hard drives - and then face 16 years in prison as well?

    I don't think so. So it smells like the police force trying to put a lid on their fellow plainclothes cop pulling a gun at a routine speeding traffic stop. And creating a bigger PR problem than the one they were trying to fix.
  8. MyDesktopBroke macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    As the video was taken in a public place, there is no expectation of privacy, right? How are they going for a felony on grounds that basically come down to violating privacy?
  9. bigjnyc macrumors 603


    Apr 10, 2008
    well that's a stupid law. what if someone across the street was taping the incident and posted it on youtube? are they also subject to penalty by this law?

    This makes it seem like the police in MD are trying to get away with violating peoples rights without getting filmed. Bad business.
  10. TZRaceR6 Guest


    Jun 8, 2010
    United Kingdom
  11. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2005
    Herd about this on NPR.

    The law came into existence after the police got into trouble for beating the S**T out of a college student. Because the event was caught on tape.

    So instead of endeavoring to stop their officers beating people the decided they would try to criminalize the act of recording police officers :eek.

    Really disgusting behavior.
  12. FX120 macrumors 65816


    May 18, 2007
    Wrong. The current law the defendant is being accused of violating has been on the books since the 70's.
  13. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

    May 10, 2009
    You mean the wiretapping law right? yah that one has been around since the 70's but the interpretations are new.
  14. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Here's another piece on it from
    This type of thing isn't just happening in MD and I agree with AP_piano295 that it is a direct reaction to police misconducted being recorded and made public. Ridiculous.

  15. IanF0729 macrumors regular


    Dec 3, 2005
    Washington, DC.
    Maryland Attorney General's Legal Opinion

    Although an infrequent contributor, as a resident of Maryland, and having heard of the opinion that I'll quote from below, I felt compelled to reply.

    The Attorney General of Maryland released a legal opinion last month that sided with the arrestee in this case. Essentially, Maryland's Wiretap Act's language protects only "private communications" because of how it defines—and thus draws the scope of the entire law—"oral communications". Although an Attorney General's opinion is not a binding law on the subject, it's a likely statement as to how the courts would decide the issue.

    I quote, from the conclusion of the opinion:

    You can read the full opinion here:

    And, all that being said, I think it's absolute bunk that a citizens should be subjected to trial for having videotaped something that occurred in public. Apparently, so too does the Attorney General of Maryland.
  16. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    You know, I've been meaning to write about this for a little while now, and never got around to it; so it's good to see this under discussion.

    As other posters have alluded, this approach to the idea of privacy is not an isolated incident. There are at least 3 states where this is being enforced, and others contemplating it.

    Rather than hiding officer abuse from public view, perhaps the solution is to get officer abuse under control?

    This is a direct police-state tactic. And, of course, you'll likely find that the people who argue in favor of these kinds of laws were inevitably among those declaring that it was no big deal that the government was looking through your emails "if you had nothing to hide".

    So, if these cops have nothing to hide, why worry about a little video?
  17. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    Agreed. If you are out in public you have no right to expect privacy.
  18. niuniu macrumors 68020


    Mar 29, 2009
    A man of the people. The right sort of people.
    How did they get the warrant to bust into his property if the interpretation of the WT Act is that wooly?
  19. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    It'll be interesting to see how the SCOTUS rules on this:

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