How would you feel if you had posted a video of a trooper’s improper actions in arresting you, and you are now in court facing a 16-year prison sentence?
Be patient. It may happen to you.
It happened to Anthony Graber, a Maryland Air National Guard staff sergeant. What did he do? He posted a video of actions by an arresting Maryland highway patrolman.
Here is what the trooper did. He was in an unmarked car. He cut off Graber, who was on a motorcycle. Then he approached Graber in plain clothes. He had pulled out a gun. He was yelling.
This was before he identified himself as a law-enforcement officer.
Graber had a camera in his motorcycle helmet. He posted the video on YouTube.
The police later raided his home. They seized his computers.
Then they locked him up for 26 hours.
Then they took him to court.
They have accused him of wiretapping. Maximum sentence: 16 years.
Wiretapping? What wires?
The video constitutes a wire. Here is how the government argues. The audio aspect of a video violates the wiretap law. Why? Because this is a private conversation. The person with the camera/smart phone must get permission from the officer before posting the video on YouTube.
Will this hold up in court? We don’t know.
Maybe if you get into a situation like this, you should not include the audio portion of the video. You can summarize what you heard. Do a voice-over.
We never heard what the L.A. police were saying to Rodney King as they beat him. Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Video is great for recording action.
The police are on the defensive. This will increase.
But they can threaten people in the meantime. They can bankrupt them with court costs.
Watch the video.
(For stories like Graber’s, click the link.)