Policeman retaliates against videographer

A policeman sues a videographer for recording a beating
Melvin Jones III was beaten unconscious by Springfield Police officers during a routine traffic stop. Medical records show that parts of Jones’ skull were shattered due to the beating and has become partially blinded in one eye.


One thing that the officers were unaware of was that Tyrisha Greene, an amateur videographer, was there to capture the whole incident on a video. Now Greene may be charged with illegal wiretapping.

Michael Sedergren, one of the officers disciplined in the matter, has filed a criminal complaint against Greene. Sedergren was suspended for 45 days and alleges Greene illegally video recorded him because she did it without his consent.

According to Section 99 of Massachusetts state law it is illegal to secretly record. It is written in the law that “the general court further finds that the uncontrolled development and unrestricted use of modern electronic surveillance devices pose grave dangers to the privacy of all citizens of the commonwealth. Therefore, the secret use of such devices by private individuals must be prohibited.”

Twelve states mandate the consent of every party in a phone or face to face conversation in order to make any recording legal. The two-party consent laws have been implemented in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington. As for video recordings, recording sound makes the footage illegal.

Greene posted a 20-minute video on the Internet showing Jones being beaten repeatedly by an officer with a flashlight while a group of officers stood by and watched.

Police reports state that Jones reached for an officers’ firearm while they attempted to take him into custody. Jones has denied the allegations and a Hampden County grand jury agreed that Jones did not act violently toward police.

Even though Greene bore witness to the beating she has been a hesitant witness, according to court records. Greene has sought legal representation and her lawyer, Daniel D. Kelly, said Sedergren sought the grievance under the wrong pretenses.

Even a cursory review of the law would show that the Legislature took the time to insert a preamble into the statute showing that it is specifically aimed at organized crime prosecutions,” Kelly told Stephanie Barry of The Republican.

As a result of the incident officers have been fired.

A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 17 in Chicopee District Court.