A Massachusetts man is facing five years in prison after secretly recording an argument between himself and a police officer who had pulled him over for a traffic infraction.
Robert E. Mansfield was charged with felony wiretapping after he walked into the police station asking police to rescind the citation for having an obstructed license plate because of a tinted cover.
At some point during his conversation with officers at the police station, he informed them he had recorded the argument between himself and the officer.
That was when they searched his car, found two cell phones and arrested him, according to the Patriot-Ledger.
Mansfield said he had no idea it was against then law in Massachusetts to secretly record somebody’s audio, even if that person is a public official conducting public business.
But ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it.
Unless, of course, you’re a police officer.
For example, a group of cops in Massachusetts who arrested a man in 2007 on wiretapping charges after he had videotaped them making an arrest in a public park are seeking qualified immunity against a civil lawsuit he has filed – claiming they had no idea it was legal to openly record cops in public.
The case is currently being reviewed by an appellate judge after another judge denied their motion to dismiss the suit on qualified immunity.
Last week, a Massachusetts cop filed an application for a criminal complaint of wiretapping charges against a woman who had videotaped him taking part in the beating a citizen.
That case will be heard in court this week.
Last month, wiretapping charges against Cop Block founders Adam Mueller and Pete Eyre were dropped after they were arrested for openly videotaping cops in front of a police station.
The Massachusetts wiretapping law makes it a crime to secretly record somebody without their consent whether or not they have an expectation of privacy.
Mansfield recorded the conversation on June 30. He was arraigned on August 2. He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on October 12.