Did you read the one about the motorcycle-rider who–while riding his bike–was confronted by a plain-clothed police officer in an unmarked car?
While the biker was breaking the law (speeding), the officer’s actions were all caught on video from the biker’s helmet cam. Once said biker, Anthony John Graber III, posted the video snatched by his helmet cam onto YouTube, he was busted for Illegal Wiretapping!
The incident, which happened in Maryland, came into the spotlight when the state’s “two-party consent” law was invoked. The officer in the case did not submit his consent for recording…
According to Gizmodo’s recent article explaining the tricky “recording police officers” law in the United States, thecourt system has been siding with the police in a majority of cases. The “tricky” part is that state laws that regulate such recordings seem to ignore the fact that police officers in the public eye have no expectation of privacy.
In Illinois, the case of Christopher Drew was recently illustrated on U-Spy Store’s blog.
Yet, the police and the courts both seem to ignore that part of those laws:
“A few weeks ago, an Illinois judge rejected a motion to dismiss an eavesdropping charge against Christopher Drew, who recorded his own arrest for selling one-dollar artwork on the streets of Chicago. Although the misdemeanor charges of not having a peddler’s license and peddling in a prohibited area were dropped, Drew is being prosecuted for illegal recording, a Class I felony punishable by 4 to 15 years in prison.”
Are these cases being subjected to special treatment, indicating to the public that police officers are above being recorded, a form of government intimidation? Two-party consent laws, enacted in cases where someone is privately recorded (the case of ESPN’s Erin Andrews) over the phone or in a private conversation–both places where citizens have the EXPECTATION of privacy. State police usually encourage video (red light cameras, security cameras) to suppress crime, so why is it discouraged when officers are caught performing below “lawful” standards? If you have questions on the legality of public or private video/audio recordings, please contact MSI Detective Services via E-mail.