Now that Elijah Matheny is $48,500 richer, it is unlikely he will be rummaging through Dumspters anytime soon.
Matheny was arrested in April 2009 on wiretapping charges for videotaping a police officer arresting his friend on the University of Pittsburgh campus.
The officer had handcuffed his friend because he was unable to confirm her identification, which is questionable in itself.
The pair were rummaging through the Dumpster looking for items that students had thrown away at the end of the semester.
The officer handcuffed Matheny after he began recording the arrest.
The officer claimed that he followed through with the arrest after the Allegheny County district attorney’s office gave him the green light.
Last year, the district attorney agreed to a settlement where it had to distribute memos to local police chiefs and prosecutors, stating that it is not against the law to record police in public.
The ACLU continued to investigate the matter and discovered that the district attorney had not, in fact, given the green light to proceed with the arrest.
The ACLU then sued the University of Pittsburgh because it was campus police who made the arrest.
The university agreed to settle by paying Matheny $48,500.