The audacity of the Maryland State Police is not that one of its plainclothes officers pulled his gun out on a motorcyclist after pulling him over for speeding.
We wouldn’t expect anything less from them.
The audacity is that they are threatening the man with prison for posting a video of the incident online.
The motorcyclist, an Air National Guardsman named Anthony Graber, was wearing a video camera on his helmet when he was pulled over. Not much different than the dash cams the cops use in their cars.
And the cop, as thuggish as he came across in the video, had absolutely no expectation of privacy when he pulled Graber over and pulled his gun out on him.
But now police are claiming that Graber recorded the cop illegally because Maryland is a two-party consent state when it comes to recording people, according to WJZ-13.
However, that law usually applies to when people have an expectation of privacy. Not when they are pulling a gun out on a citizen on the side of a busy road in broad daylight.
Here is an analysis of the Maryland law posted on the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which reveals that these Maryland cops are pulling laws out of their asses.
State courts have interpreted the laws to protect communications only when the parties have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and thus, where a person in a private apartment was speaking so loudly that residents of an adjoining apartment could hear without any sound enhancing device, recording without the speaker’s consent did not violate the wiretapping law. Malpas v. Maryland, 695 A.2d 588 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1997); see also Benford v. American Broadcasting Co., 649 F. Supp. 9 (D. Md. 1986) (salesman’s presentation in stranger’s home not assumed to carry expectation of privacy).
The obvious truth is that these cops are embarrassed about coming across as thugs on video. In fact, Graber thought he was about to get murdered.
“I was afraid. I thought the person, at the time I didn’t know it was an officer, was going to shoot me,” Graber told the TV news station.
Graber was cited on location for traveling more than 100 mph on his bike. He was also accused of popping wheelies. And Graber apparently paid the fines because the case was then closed.
But police showed up to his house more than a month later after they saw the video he had posted online.
Then they threatened him with prison after accusing him of breaking the wiretapping law.
Maryland is a two-party consent state. That means you can’t record somebody without telling them. It’s a felony to break that law.
That’s exactly what state police told the motorcyclist when they came to his house more than a month after he’d been pulled over.
“I don’t want to go to jail. I haven’t really done anything wrong. It wasn’t a violent crime. No one was injured. No one was hurt,” said Graber.
The Harford County state’s attorney is handling the case but has not charged the motorcyclist.
We’ve seen cops use that same law several times in several states only for it to be thrown out of court. This one shouldn’t even make it to court.
Below is the video in its entirety.