Monday, 2 August 2010

How does this Graber you?

Anthony Graber is a high-speed geek: the kind of man who straps a video camera to his head and goes for a ride on his motorbike.

The other gentleman in this video is a Maryland State Trooper, though he doesn't introduce himself as such until after he's waved the gun around, according to our hero. He gave Mr. Graber a citation for speeding, which seems fair enough, though the gun seems a bit excessive, though it may be normal for the US.

Then silly Mr. Graber, believing that a conversation between a policeman and a citizen isn't 'private' (because anything you say to a policeman can be presented in court, and because Maryland police officers record encounters themselves), put his tape on Youtube.

Oops. Suddenly the speeding ticket became a police raid, confiscation of his computers and 16 charges, including extra motoring offences and several wiretap violations! Hilariously, one charge refers to 'surreptitious' recording - despite the camera being stuck on Graber's head! He now faces up to 16 years in jail if the cops get their way.

I know Ewar will find some way to justify the policeman's action, but it's beyond me: encounters with public servants are just that - public - and if the police don't have anything to be ashamed of, they shouldn't object to their actions being recorded for posterity. After all, we in Britain are recorded everywhere we go. In case you're unsure, or a policeman tells you differently, the government has clarified the law: you can photograph/record the police in virtually all situations.

Thankfully, the ACLU are on the case.

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