Just over a year after they were arrested on wiretapping charges in Massachusetts, Cop Block founders Adam Mueller and Pete Eyre were found not guilty.
The verdict came in earlier this afternoon.
According to The Republican newspaper of Western Massachusetts:
When Eyre and Mueller showed up at the county jail last July, they asked a jail official if they could record the process of bailing out their friends. They initially were told they could film the procedure, but when they returned with bail money a short while later were told that was against jail policy.
Jail officials, however, were unable to show the pair any written policies precluding filming at the jail — a public, taxpayer-funded facility — nor did the jail have any posted signs barring recording devices on the premises.
Eyre and Mueller continued recording their encounter with jail officials and a Greenfield police officer, Sgt. Todd Dodge, who said the pair would have to leave the premises if they continued to film. Eyre and Mueller refused to stop digitally recording the episode and were arrested.
“Both Adam and myself, we felt that at the end of the day, we didn’t do anything wrong. We didn’t hurt anybody.”
This is not only a huge victory for Mueller and Eyre, it is a huge victory in the ongoing battle for the right to videotape police in public.
Just last year, Massachusetts was one of three states where it was considered illegal to videotape cops in public, the others being Maryland and Illinois.
But a Maryland judge ruled last year that police do not have an expectation of privacy, so that confirmed it was legal to videotape cops in public in that state.
And Massachusetts officials like to pretend that it is also illegal to videotape cops, but the law states that it is only illegal to “secretly” videotape cops.
Eyre and Mueller were very open about videotaping cops.
Also in Massachusetts, a judge is currently reviewing an appeal that will decide whether a group of cops who arrested another man on wiretapping charges for videotaping them in public will be granted qualified immunity.
That case, which I wrote about here, will determine whether cops can make these unlawful arrests without fear of repercussions.
That leaves Illinois, which has the most absurd laws against recording cops in public, which Radley Balko has covered extensively.
For more background on Mueller’s and Eyre’s case, read the article I wrote last year.