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Old 08-14-2010, 08:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Do police officers have an expected right to privacy?

Quote:
Graber's case has become a national cause among libertarians. The Maryland National Guard sergeant admits he was speeding in April down Interstate 95 on his Honda CBR 1000RR. A man in a grey sweater jumped from his car in a traffic stop and pulled a gun on Graber, ordering him off the motorcycle. He then identified himself as a Maryland State Police trooper Joseph Uhler.

Graber was recording the stop with a camera mounted on his helmet. After posting the videos on YouTube, police raided the home Graber shared with his parents, taking four computers and eventually arresting him on a charge of violating Maryland's wiretapping law for recording the trooper's voice without his consent. The maximum sentence is 16 years in prison.

"The officer having his gun drawn or being on a public roadway has nothing to do with it," Cassilly says. "Neither does the fact that what Mr. Graber said during the stop could be used in court. That's not the test. The test is whether police officers can expect some of the conversations they have while on the job to remain private and not be recorded and replayed for the world to hear."
If the police are allowed to have their own cameras rolling could you? As a public servant do they have any reasonable right to privacy as they are doing their jobs?

I don't trust all police officers, so yes I do think I could and should have my own cameras recording. Different angles and different points of view are part of movie production providing different information and structure to the construct of the scene. I find it no different than multiple witnesses with an exact memory of what transpired.

I also do not think that police officers have any reasonable right to privacy WHILE they are doing their jobs. As public servants they are public when they are doing their jobs.
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I have to think about this for a while, but the first thing that comes to mind is that I'm guessing the police force isn't putting all their shit on YouTube.
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You have no reasonable expectation of privacy in public places.

This was on a public road.
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq View Post

I also do not think that police officers have any reasonable right to privacy WHILE they are doing their jobs. As public servants they are public when they are doing their jobs.
The cop was operating in his capacity as a police officer, whether he was on duty or not. So, yes, I agree with Cyn here.
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm not sure how it differs between photography and video/sound recordings, but there's this bit here:
http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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the crux of the prosecution is that this violates wiretapping laws. They aren't concerned about the video portion but the audio portion. Maryland is a two party state where both parties have to consent to audio recordings.

The purpose of this is to cover private conversations, but again, the individual officer is not a private citizen at that point.
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Are you saying that the interaction between the officer and the driver shouldn't be considered a private conversation? Does this mean it would be okay to have the police force stream all these interactions online, kind of like a reality show?
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:48 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq View Post
the crux of the prosecution is that this violates wiretapping laws. They aren't concerned about the video portion but the audio portion. Maryland is a two party state where both parties have to consent to audio recordings.

The purpose of this is to cover private conversations, but again, the individual officer is not a private citizen at that point.
Does Maryland have dashboard cams installed in their cruisers? If so, then I suppose that the citizens of Maryland have already given their consent to being taped by law enforcement, yes? And if that's the case, then I don't see how law enforcement can claim a violation of wiretapping laws if the public reciprocates by taping law enforcement.
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:52 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Baraka_Guru View Post
Are you saying that the interaction between the officer and the driver shouldn't be considered a private conversation? Does this mean it would be okay to have the police force stream all these interactions online, kind of like a reality show?
It isn't a private conversation in the construction it is now. It is in open public. If anyone else stopped on the side of the road they could hear and listen to the conversation. There is no reasonable expectation of any privacy.

With respect to the driver, there are other laws that come into place that don't allow for streaming online like "presumed innocent" since the audience has no way to determine if the suspect is actually guilty.

---------- Post added at 01:52 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:50 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by FuglyStick View Post
Does Maryland have dashboard cams installed in their cruisers? If so, then I suppose that the citizens of Maryland have already given their consent to being taped by law enforcement, yes? And if that's the case, then I don't see how law enforcement can claim a violation of wiretapping laws if the public reciprocates by taping law enforcement.
That is a great question. I don't know if MD officers have access to dashboard cams and audio is also clearly heard, so there would have to be some sort of implied consent.
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq View Post
It isn't a private conversation in the construction it is now. It is in open public. If anyone else stopped on the side of the road they could hear and listen to the conversation. There is no reasonable expectation of any privacy.
Yes, but there is a difference between a highway offramp in rural Maryland during what looks like non-peak hours and YouTube.
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Old 08-14-2010, 10:57 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I'd give you that if the officer was citing that he doesn't consent to his image being used for commercial usage. Again, not the case.

Even then if the video poster just blurred out his face, it would still be fair game.
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:06 AM   #12 (permalink)
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That cop is lucky he wasn't pulling a gun on a member of the American gun culture. I can think of at least three people who would have pulled their concealed guns in such a situation and wouldn't have hesitated in firing at the armed aggressor.
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:17 AM   #13 (permalink)
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But how can anyone expect any right to privacy in a public place? What ever you say or do on the side of the road is potentially not only going to be seen/heard by multiple people but the chance also remains that it might be recorded and shown elsewhere. I don't have the right to tell a person recording on the street corner to stop because my likeness or a conversation I'm having winds up in his film...the best I could hope for is maybe a blurred face...if it was going to youtube I really couldn't even hope for that.

I don't know, he's a public servant doing a job paid for by taxpayers while working in a public place how much privacy can or should he really expect?
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:25 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Yep, it's a public place and to hide behind wiretapping laws is bull shit, IMO.
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:37 AM   #15 (permalink)
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When I worked in a convenience store years ago I had video cameras on me at all times that were always watched by management. I had no right to privacy while on the job and why should I? My employers had every right to see what I was doing on their property with their time, money and customers. I don't really see this as being any different, sure the posting on youtube might be a gray area but I don't see anything wrong with the other citizens of Maryland being able to see how their public servants are behaving on the job.

Any citizen should have a right to film a traffic stop or any other altercation with the police to both ensure their own safety and make sure proper procedure is followed. If its not it gives them recourse to have the officer punished...why it almost seems like this wiretapping thing is a way to discourage the public from doing that.

EDIT: I hate typos
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:39 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Concur
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Old 08-14-2010, 12:42 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I agree with B_G that putting it on YouTube may be what takes it over the line. A local newspaper may, by law, publish a list of Registered Sex Offenders (probably in the lower corner of page 37) without violating their privacy. Is putting those same names (a matter of public record) on a roadside billboard in letters 4-feet high also a non-violation?
Does privacy come in degrees, like murder charges? Or is it an all or nothing matter?
Will we go from trial by judge or jury to trial by YouTube?
How about trial by the mob in the coliseum?

I would not dispute the right of the motorcyclist to record this "transaction." I think that publishing it on YouTube takes it over the line.

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Old 08-14-2010, 12:47 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Lindy almost all names of sex offenders are already available with their name and address online in just about ever jurisdiction. This isn't about public record, this is about private citizens being allowed to publish or broadcast information about public servants. What you are comparing it to is the State making public information about private citizens which is a very different story.
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Old 08-14-2010, 12:48 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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How many satellites have we put into orbit to police ourselves?

We are a curious, paranoid bunch.
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Old 08-14-2010, 01:38 PM   #20 (permalink)
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The only thing this has to do with is upper level police officials putting pressure on political candidates to protect their own ass. The Police in Maryland have a LONG history of pulling the gloves off and going overboard, doing this helps them prevent actual evidence to be shown.

It's against the Supreme Court Ruling that there is 0 promise of privacy for anything done in public space.

The dashboard cameras routinely have "corrupted disks/tapes" whenever the evidence would point to police corruption/abuses, yet work 100% of the time in court cases for any non-police offender.

It's BS, and if I was this guy I'd turn to the ACLU and take it all the way to the Supreme Court.

*Edit*
Quote:
I agree with B_G that putting it on YouTube may be what takes it over the line. A local newspaper may, by law, publish a list of Registered Sex Offenders (probably in the lower corner of page 37) without violating their privacy. Is putting those same names (a matter of public record) on a roadside billboard in letters 4-feet high also a non-violation?
Does privacy come in degrees, like murder charges? Or is it an all or nothing matter?
Will we go from trial by judge or jury to trial by YouTube?
How about trial by the mob in the coliseum?

I would not dispute the right of the motorcyclist to record this "transaction." I think that publishing it on YouTube takes it over the line.

Read more: http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/general...#ixzz0wcQ2PMMx
If you take pictures of an individual in a private setting, you need written permission to publish said picture.
If you take pictures of an individual on the street, you do not need any permission whatsoever.

If you record a conversation over the phone or in a private space, you must get written consent prior to.
If you record a conversation in a park or public space, you do not need any permission whatsoever.

The Supreme Court ruled that there is 0 promise of privacy in public settings. That's why the malls/casinos/schools/hotels/hospitals/etc do not need your permission... ever. There is 0 promise so anything you do can be videotaped, this cop should have even less promise as he's a public servant.

Releasing it over YouTube is the only sometimes to fight back. While I hate Rodney King, a bad person with a LONG list of arrests/prison/etc, without videotape no one would have ever heard of it... and beating unarmed people would still be a relatively common occurrence. If they are actually good cops, they shouldn't oppose these things as it'd help weed out the dipshit ones.
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Old 08-14-2010, 03:35 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I concur with Seaver. A good (hell, even lousy) video tape is the only way to fight back in many cases. But probably not this case. Moron on CBR1000.

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That cop is lucky he wasn't pulling a gun on a member of the American gun culture. I can think of at least three people who would have pulled their concealed guns in such a situation and wouldn't have hesitated in firing at the armed aggressor.
Who exactly? Guys that act like dipshits on motorcycles and then, five minutes later, get stopped by a cookie-cutter Johnny D. Law type yelling at them from the front while a uniformed officer in a marked cruiser pulls up behind them (see end of video)? C'mon, there is no mystery as to this dude's job.

And, hell, just look at the guy. White dude with GI Joe haircut, furrowed cranky cop brow, rewind jargon talk, subdued color clothes.

Nobody with half a brain would have gone for a concealed handgun in those circumstances. I'm curious as to who you "know" who'd do that.

Still, it's my feeling that the plainclothes cop didn't need to do anything but index his piece given the circumstances.
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Old 08-14-2010, 03:52 PM   #22 (permalink)
 
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i agree with seaver as well. i was thinking about philadelphia's finest and their long and glorious history of beating the shit out of people and also beating the shit out of people who document them beating the shit out of people. so yeah, this is a tactical move by the maryland state police aimed at preventing real evidence of real problems from ending up on youtube.

and no, i don't think there's a presumption of privacy in a situation where a cop is acting in his official capacity as a cop, even one who's off duty seemingly and doing a bit of rambo action. i think rather the contrary--that the police in their official capacities should be subject to maximum public scrutiny to keep them in line.

but off duty and not acting in their official capacities, police officers become regular folk with day jobs and i'd expect the presumptions would be different. in other words, i wouldn't be cool with broadcasting footage of cops hanging out at a barbeque.
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Old 08-14-2010, 07:24 PM   #23 (permalink)
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The biker's entire set up looks badass. Had to be said.

The second the cop pulled out his gun was the second he lost rights to privacy, essentially becoming on duty.

I say keep on videotaping and recording what the po-leece do in public, there's nothing else to keep them accountable when they fuck up (this video).
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Old 08-16-2010, 07:32 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Would the Maryland police/courts go after someone posting a vid on YouTube, without permission, of a Maryland State Trooper doing something heroic in a public place?

IMO the recording of any inneraction with law enforcement officers should be allowed. As others have said posting it on YouTube blurs the line.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:39 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I think police in public should have the same right to privacy as everyone else. The question is in public should they have some extra right that other people don't and the obvious answer is no. When they are in public like in this case they should have no expectation of privacy. And if they did their job right they should not have any concern.

The only added reason I can kind of think of for police is undercover cops not wanitng their faces recorded, but such a situation should not be the norm in public.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:50 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Nobody with half a brain would have gone for a concealed handgun in those circumstances. I'm curious as to who you "know" who'd do that.
.
I imagine I have at *least* 3/4 of a brain, and I think I might've. If I'd seen the uniformed officer in the badged car in my motorcycle's mirror, perhaps.. but if someone cut over in front of me like that on my motorcycle they've already endangered me (if not threatened me with a deadly weapon) and then they get out with a gun? It's a very narrow window of time before he identifies himself and the marked car pulls up, but I think I'd at least be instinctively reaching for it by then. If I do CCW on the motorcycle, though.. it's under my jacket or in my backpack. I know I wouldn't have it in my hands in this amount of time anyway..

I understand the knee-jerk to Will's vaguely guised "crazy man with a gun" characterization, but I think it'd be fair to say that some CCW-carriers would be reaching or un-snapping or gripping if someone they didn't recognize immediately as a police officer did this.. when I first watched the video I thought he was just a vigilante trying to stop someone they saw speeding.. I've had my fair encounters with civilians who thought it was their civic duty to endanger my life just to enforce a traffic law.
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:04 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Based on the video, that cruiser was right behind the unmarked car. And when I say "unmarked," I mean blatantly-obvious-this-is-a-cop car. Anybody who spends a few minutes on a motorcycle realizes how important it is to check their mirrors and I have no doubt that this particular numbnuts knew that he was being tailed by at least one police officer due to his wheelie-gettin' antics. None of this was a surprise; it was the likely outcome.

And just to cover all the bases: acting like a dipshit, breaking the law, etc... isn't something most concealed weapon permit holders do on a regular basis. This is for three reasons: 1: they want to remain anonymous, 2: they don't want to get shot by a cop, 3: many holsters preclude doing cartwheels. It's also illegal for a concealed weapon permit holder to attempt to enforce the law. Their weapon is for self defense (or the defense of others, ha-ha) only.

Comments like this make me think people either don't carry or shouldn't be carrying. A few rounds of Hogan's Alley on Nintendo shows who is the good guy and who is the bad guy in a confrontation. You don't react to the presence of a gun, you react to the person holding it. "Don't shoot the cop!"

Also: You've had armed Joe Citizens confront you over traffic violations? Do tell. My initial thought is, "Them motherfuckers need to get a hobby."

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Old 08-16-2010, 09:41 AM   #28 (permalink)
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And just to cover all the bases: acting like a dipshit, breaking the law, etc... isn't something most concealed weapon permit holders do on a regular basis. This is for three reasons: 1: they want to remain anonymous, 2: they don't want to get shot by a cop, 3: many holsters preclude doing cartwheels. It's also illegal for a concealed weapon permit holder to attempt to enforce the law. Their weapon is for self defense (or the defense of others, ha-ha) only.
True.

Quote:
Comments like this make me think people either don't carry or shouldn't be carrying. A few rounds of Hogan's Alley on Nintendo shows who is the good guy and who is the bad guy in a confrontation. You don't react to the presence of a gun, you react to the person holding it. "Don't shoot the cop!"
I still don't immediately recognize that guy as a police officer. Sure, the signs might seem obvious to you - haircut, etc., but to me it just looks like a angry man who just cut across my lane and almost made me go over the handlebars.

Quote:
Also: You've had armed Joe Citizens confront you over traffic violations? Do tell. My initial thought is, "Them motherfuckers need to get a hobby."
No, but I've had people zoom past me, pull in front and lock up all four tires in their interpretation of a citizens 'pit stop' in order to get me to slow down. I've also had people try to run me off the road or weave lane to lane to prevent me from passing. I've (more than once) had a car swerve violently and intentionally into my lane as I was passing on my motorcycle in order to get me to slow down to their perception of a 'reasonable' speed. Maybe we just have a high percentage of road-rage drivers here, but I truly wouldn't be shocked to see someone do the maneuver in this video and then get out with a gun because I've somehow offended their sensibilities on the road. My father had his arm broken by a crowbar because he stopped for a yellow light and the driver behind him did not want to. If it weren't for experiences like this I probably wouldn't CCW on the motorcycle at all.
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:43 AM   #29 (permalink)
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if you watch the vid in 720p you can see that the unmarked car has lights flashing. it's brief glimpse, but I believe that I saw the flashers in the grill. It is also when the motorcycle is appearing to slow down.
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Old 08-16-2010, 10:01 AM   #30 (permalink)
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A few rounds of Hogan's Alley on Nintendo shows who is the good guy and who is the bad guy in a confrontation.
lol, you just went up like 10 cool points in my book.

not that I have a book where I give out cool points.


damnit, I should get on that.
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:55 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Hey, what can I say? My training is top notch.

And that Walt guy already made the Duck Hunt joke.

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if you watch the vid in 720p you can see that the unmarked car has lights flashing.
Good call. I should stop viewing videos in 3x5".
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:38 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Willravel View Post
That cop is lucky he wasn't pulling a gun on a member of the American gun culture. I can think of at least three people who would have pulled their concealed guns in such a situation and wouldn't have hesitated in firing at the armed aggressor.
Yes and no. I really can't fathom why the undercover officer displayed his weapon. At all. Especially with another marked car right behind the person being pulled over. That being said, the officer did say "get off the motorcycle, state police." Still after the fact, and still really, really stupid on his part. If it were a different situation, as in some random car forced me off the road, the driver got out and pulled a gun on me without identifying his or herself, then I would fall into the category of one of those who would fire upon on or at the very least, draw my weapon on an armed aggressor. However, the person being pulled over knew what was going on. While what the undercover officer did was incomprehensibly stupid, I don't think that the vast majority of those who identify with "American gun culture" would even think about shooting that individual, given the situation.
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Old 08-20-2010, 01:05 PM   #33 (permalink)
still, wondering.
 
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Failing eyesight, the line's not that blurry: "Wiretapping" has become spurious. Watch me watching you, approach me & you might be seen. Take a job with responsibilities & man up.
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Old 09-28-2010, 11:01 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Way to go to the judge in this case he tossed it out saying there was no expectation of privacy. "Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public," the judge wrote. "When we exercise that power in public fora, we should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation."

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Old 09-28-2010, 11:25 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Well I don't think someone should be allowed to record you and post it to the internet without your consent....Now if this guy is a youtube partner and makes any sort of money for what content he puts up, then this police officer definately should have the right to privacy....

Now on the flip side, police record you, dont you have the right to privacy...well they don't have a choice if its a department or state guide line that they are required to tape traffic stops or interviews they dont have a choice...

---------- Post added at 03:21 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:12 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Willravel View Post
That cop is lucky he wasn't pulling a gun on a member of the American gun culture. I can think of at least three people who would have pulled their concealed guns in such a situation and wouldn't have hesitated in firing at the armed aggressor.

And they would have gotten shot, I think the cop had a big time advantage being that his weapon was already drawn, had another police officer 5 seconds away and was on foot....

---------- Post added at 03:25 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:21 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plan9 View Post
I concur with Seaver. A good (hell, even lousy) video tape is the only way to fight back in many cases. But probably not this case. Moron on CBR1000.



Who exactly? Guys that act like dipshits on motorcycles and then, five minutes later, get stopped by a cookie-cutter Johnny D. Law type yelling at them from the front while a uniformed officer in a marked cruiser pulls up behind them (see end of video)? C'mon, there is no mystery as to this dude's job.

And, hell, just look at the guy. White dude with GI Joe haircut, furrowed cranky cop brow, rewind jargon talk, subdued color clothes.

Nobody with half a brain would have gone for a concealed handgun in those circumstances. I'm curious as to who you "know" who'd do that.

Still, it's my feeling that the plainclothes cop didn't need to do anything but index his piece given the circumstances.
I agree...
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:40 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Okay, I hope that cop gets fired and if he doesn't, I'm going to write that department a letter. I'm not the type to do soo, however that just totally isn't cool....


If you are a cop, shouldn't you flash your badge? he wasn't in a cop car and he wasn't in uniform. A plain clothed person with a gun = bad guy. He could have easily got killed for doing that to the wrong person.


... not to mention cutting off a bike like that is kinda dangerous.
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:24 PM   #37 (permalink)
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I guess we are missing the point here - which is that the people of Maryland really need to be grateful that there isno violent crime, no property crime, no drug crime and no sexual crime apparently going on in the state of Maryland... and therefore the police have the time and resource to raid the home and confiscate the property of someone who filmed an over zealous traffic cop. It must be the envy of many other police forces that Maryland Police have the resource to spare on issues like this.

And on the side point - this isnt about privacy, this isnt about wire tapping - its about the police saying "we can do what we want and we will resist to the upmost being held to account for it".
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:34 PM   #38 (permalink)
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That's a bit more aggressive than I ride in traffic; but I'm having a hard time understanding why pulling a gun is appropriate. Neither party has a reasonable expectation of privacy on the side of the road.

I need to get a helmet cam.
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:54 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strange Famous View Post
I guess we are missing the point here - which is that the people of Maryland really need to be grateful that there isno violent crime, no property crime, no drug crime and no sexual crime apparently going on in the state of Maryland... and therefore the police have the time and resource to raid the home and confiscate the property of someone who filmed an over zealous traffic cop.
A crime is a crime. If the police see it as a crime, they have to do something about it. They'll let the courts sort it out later.
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Old 09-28-2010, 04:13 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StanT View Post
That's a bit more aggressive than I ride in traffic; but I'm having a hard time understanding why pulling a gun is appropriate. Neither party has a reasonable expectation of privacy on the side of the road.

I need to get a helmet cam.
just don't do this.


I'm glad that the judge saw something that made sense and tossed it out.
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