What is it with these states and their unconstitutional laws?
A few months ago, we learned of a Tennessee law titled “unlawful photography”, which lead to the arrest of Scott Conover, who photographed an on-duty cop on a public street. I’ve been talking to Scott and I have the most interesting update on that one, so stay tuned. I’m just waiting for a couple of documents.
Then last Saturday in Massachusetts, police arrested a man who videotaped them against their wishes, charging him with “violating the law regarding videotaping without consent of both parties”.
Mark Hynes, 24, of 44 Chappie St., Charlestown, was arrested after he allegedly took pictures of police officers without their permission on Sept. 27. Reports stated that at 3:30 a.m., the suspect was waiting for a friend to finish filing an incident report, and officers asked him to sit down because he kept interrupting the process. The suspect reportedly refused, saying he had the right to stand wherever he wanted. The suspect then allegedly began taking pictures of the officers and said, “It is live streaming to my home computer” to officers when told that they did not want their pictures taken. The suspect was charged with disorderly conduct and violating the law regarding videotaping without consent of both parties.
Now I’m assuming he was videotaping them and not “taking pictures” as the article suggests because then police would really be stretching it by charging him with “videotaping without consent” if he only had been taking pictures. Perhaps there is no “unlawful photography” law in Massachusetts.
And is there even a “videotaping without consent” law? I’m assuming it is a state or local law because police just wouldn’t make it up, would they?
But even if it was, there is no way this is going to stand in court because as one who keeps up with these things, I know of a similar incident in Boston (where Charlestown is a suburb) which resulted in a judge dropping all charges against the suspect.
From a Feb. 6th, 2008 Photography is Not a Crime article:
Simon Glik of Boston was arrested in October on felony charges of illegal wiretapping, disturbing the peace and – aiding a prisoner escape – after he used his cell phone to videotape police arresting a drug suspect. Glik, who was born in Moscow, must have felt as if he were back in Russia.
So both men were videotaping police against their wishes. I suspect the “videotaping without consent” charge is the same “illegal wiretapping” charge they tried to nail Glik with last year.
Thankfully, Boston Judge Mark H. Summerville threw that case out on the grounds that videography is not wiretapping, it’s photography. And as the judge noted, “Photography is a form of expression which is entitled to First Amendment protection just as the written or spoken word is protected.”
So I not only hope Hynes gets his charges dropped, I hope he sues the hell out of them for violating his First Amendment rights because how else is all this madness going to stop?