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10 Jun, 2010 23:18

Film a cop in Maryland and get arrested

An individual in the US state of Maryland is facing felony charges for filming and posting online a video of an aggressive unmarked police officer pulling him over for speeding.

Anthony Garber was pulled over while on his motorcycle by a non-uniformed police officer driving an unmarked car. The officer got out of his car, pulled his gun and aggressively approached Garber before identifying himself as state police. Garber recorded the incident with a camera that was attached to the top of his motorcycle helmet and posted it on YouTube.

Days after posting the video online the police showed up at Garber ‘s home and arrested him for violating the state’s wiretapping laws. It is illegal in Maryland to video tape anyone without their consent.

It’s obviously an attempt by the police to strongarm him. He did nothing wrong. He did nothing criminal. All he did was expose a cop, an overly aggressive cop, and he embarrassed a cop and now they’re cracking down on him. It’s really out of line on the police department for pursuing this charge against him because the wiretapping law is meant for telephone conversations, not for being videotaped in public when you have no expectation for privacy,” said blogger Carlos Miller of Photography Is Not A Crime.

The camera was visible on the top of Garber’s helmet in sight of the police officer.

Video footage allows for accountability on police officer and police organizations. In another case, university student John McKenna was beaten excessively by police officers and it was caught on tape. The video footage was the only evidence that showed the reality of the situation. The officers had originally claimed that McKenna attacked them.

The video camera doesn’t lie, it shows the truth and now they are trying to crack down on that,” said Miller.

He continued, “It is a clear violation of our first amendment rights because numerous courts and numerous judges have ruled that photography and videography is protected by the first amendment.”

Miller argues that lawmakers need to make laws that protect American citizens. He said It is unreasonable to tell individuals that they cannot film.

Police officers need to work under the impression that they may be on film at any point in time to ensure accountability of police actions. Without cameras police can easily get away with brutality, just as they have for years. Police officers must be retrained to accept accountability, according to Miller.