The Washington Post reports on the story of Maryland resident Anthony Graber, who videotaped an encounter with a Maryland State Trooper where Graber received a speeding ticket.
A week later, on March 10, Graber posted his video of the encounter on YouTube. What followed wasn’t a furor over the police officer’s behavior but over Graber’s use of a camera to capture the entire episode.
On April 8, Graber was wakened by six officers raiding his parents’ home in Abingdon, Md., where he lived with his wife and two young children. He learned later that prosecutors had obtained a grand jury indictment alleging he had violated state wiretap laws by recording the trooper without his consent.
The case has ignited a debate over whether police are twisting a decades-old statute intended to protect people from government intrusions of privacy to, instead, keep residents from recording police activity. […]
The frequency of such arrests [as Graber’s] has picked up with the spread of portable video cameras and the proliferation of videos showing alleged police misconduct on the Web. […]
David Rocah, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland who is part of Graber’s defense team, said on-duty officers have no expectation of privacy while doing their job in public. If police need to talk to an informant, they can have a private conversation, he said. “But when they are public officials performing their duty for everyone to see and hear, that is not a private conversation,” Roach said.