Pennsylvania Cops Continue to Lie to Citizens about Wiretapping Law


Another Pennsylvania cop tried to convince a citizen that audio recording him in public is a felony, an act of intimidation that doesn’t carry the same weight as it did a couple of years ago when they would actually carry out arrests on these charges.

The charges would never go anywhere, but that still hasn’t stopped cops from threatening to arrest citizens recording them on these charges.

But now the cops at least know better not to follow through on an arrest if the citizen asserts their rights.

It is not clear exactly what part of Pennsylvania this took place, but it is very clear that recording cops (or anybody else for that matter) is not illegal if they do not have an expectation of privacy.

But as they’ve recently proven in Florida, another two-party consent state whose wiretapping law includes an expectation of privacy provision, police in Pennsylvania continue to lie to citizens, hoping they will not know better.

But the citizens are getting much smarter about these things, so the cops are just making themselves look stupid.

About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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  • Rubin Farr

    Harrisburg, PA ? Lower Paxton Township … Officer H. Miller? or Officer C. Miller?

    • Carlos_Miller

      Yes, I hear it now that I am home. I wrote at a Starbucks while doing an interview. Multitasking. Thanks!

  • Darksideblues42

    It may be a silly question, but if an officer can lie to you to discourage the exercise of a constitutionally protected right, can’t that be considered official misconduct since it is oppression of an inalienable right without just cause? (just cause meaning asking EVERYONE to be 50 feet from a house fire for safety or similar extenuating circumstances)

    • Peacefulstreets Lewiscounty

      A very pointed question. Can anyone more legally versed weigh in? We all know a LEO can legally lie to someone during the course of an investigation, but are there limits? Does an investigation need to be opened?

      • Proud GrandPa

        I don’t claim to be an attorney, but the answer to DSB42’s query is that courts have allowed LEOs to lie as part of their investigation. The may not lie outside of investigations. They are not protected for malicious statements or attempts at fraud etc.
        Courts seem to treat lying as they do undercover detective work. Both require decption to get the truth. Both work.
        What I don’t like are lies not related to the LEOs duties like or based upon a misunderstanding of law… as in this video.

        • IcedTeaParty

          The police cannot lie to separate you from your constitutional rights. If they do lie, current court precedent says that it can invalidate a confession if it coerced the confession. For example, the police can’t falsely promise mental health treatment in exchange for a confession. A lie about legal principles can in many cases be considered coercive, and therefore illegal. The things the cops can lie about are saying they have the murder weapon, or claiming they have a witness who saw the defendants car at the scene of the crime.

          What the cop did in this case was in the grey zone…lying about legal principles. This is coercive, and likely illegal.

          The courts have ruled, so don’t argue with me.

    • Ian Battles

      Yes, it IS misconduct.

      Title 18, Chapter 13, Section 242 of the US Code makes it a federal crime for
      a public official to use their official authority under color of law to
      violate a civil, statutory or constitutional right. A simple oral
      directive issued in their official capacity to stop exercising the right
      is worth a year in prison or a $1,000 fine or both.

      TLDR: It’s a federal crime for a cop to interfere with calm, non-violent citizen
      videography, since filming in public is a 1st Amendment right.

      Now will you ever find a D.A. with the spine to prosecute a cop for this crime? I won’t hold my breath…

      • Darksideblues42

        I had a feeling this was the opinion of most. Do we know if this has ever been affirmed by a court? What about how many similar videos have officers framing the order to stop filming as a “request” (which simply means the command is structured to be grammatically be a request as opposed to a hard demand) Would the courts hold that this was not a directive as much as it was a request? Things like “I would like you to stop filming” “I would like you to please move along now” as opposed to “Stop filming” or “Keep moving”

        I think most of us can understand an officer making a reasonable request to stay back from a dangerous situation as long as the same request is issued to everyone passing by the scene.

        I also think that while I am sure there are many good officers who only seek to serve their communities, there are also many who think themselves better than the public they profess to serve, and this sort of video highlights some of what have become “standard” responses to the public seeking to document police activities to ensure a better informed populous and to ensure equal justice and protection for all.

  • Ron Grounds

    Thug cops

  • FitzND

    There was no reason to even approach the person with the camera except to bully him and lie to him about the law.

    • DAnny

      great avatar !

  • putaro

    Lying to a government official has been criminalized. Why is it that they’re allowed to lie to citizens?

    • Name

      It has always been illegal to lie to an officer during an investigation and police have always been given the liberty to lie because their actions do not hinder the investigation. Don’t act like this is anything new.

      • Proud GrandPa

        Actually it has not always been illegal to lie to cops during an investigation. It used to be lawful as long as your lie did not interfere with the investigation. This changed in the 60s.

        • Name

          That counts as always for my lifetime and most others.

          • Tijuana Joe

            Don’t talk to them.
            They got Martha Stewart on lying not the original and more
            serious charge.
            That’s what they resort to when the case is weak.

          • Name

            I agree. Never talk to the police.

          • Heisenberg

            I think this applies to federal law enforcement only. The only thing you have to tell the truth to the cops is your name and birthday if you are detained.

        • IcedTeaParty

          There was no investigation. The cops just came up to harass them.

  • Scott

    The cops always seem to forget that they have the absolute right to shut their mouth if they don’t want to be recorded. Once they are notified that they are being recorded then it is their decision whether or not to be recorded.

    • Tijuana Joe

      Good point.
      Cops lose their swagger with the prospect of all their BS being captured on audio
      and subsequently can’t trick you into a confession, or give you a hard time…

      I think I might say “Respectfully, Officer, you are perfectly free to shut your mouth if
      you are worried about being audiotaped.”

  • Prisoner416

    Hah, I almost forgot about this this footage. It’s mine, but a trimmed version. The full thing is mostly boring, but it does have two cops shouting “can I help you” one after the other when they notice I’m filming. Also love how the officer never identified himself. There are good members on the force… there was a senior officer who was totally okay with me filming a traffic stop one time, and was super polite to me. So yeah, it’s not all bad.

    • sfmc98

      Supremely well done. You were adamant but polite and 100% knowledgeable. Most people’s problem is they only know half the law and are completely inarticulate when stating it.

      You didn’t even give them cause to say “why are you so nervous?”

      People need to watch this to learn how to deal with cops.

      • Proud GrandPa

        People need to watch this to learn how to deal with cops.
        Right you are.

    • Difdi

      You’re lucky you didn’t shine a light in his eyes the way he was doing to you. Cops tend to react badly to being assault…though it’s funny how often they do it to other people and think it’s okay…

    • Proud GrandPa

      Thanks for providing that balanced analysis. Glad you mentioned that there are good members on the force. I think most or almost all cops want to do right and follow laws. Even the cop in the video confirms this with courtesy.
      I bet he went to the office an looked up the relevant law, so he won’t make this error again. You were polite too. Well done!

      • Prisoner416

        There are many, many good cops… it’s just the system as a whole that is corrupt. I was arrested when I was 18 for recording officers, but sadly was young, and my parents wanted things over with and were scared… took a deal to disorderly conduct and a fine, and the recording was deleted. The dude who did it is now Chief of police in Swatara Township, though. I document the police whenever police, but I have set rules. Do not antagonize them, listen to reasonable requests, and even if they have an attitude with you, remain calm and polite. It helps the court of public opinion when you’re polite and not acting like a jerk in kind, even though you have the right to. I would love to upload my positive police encounter, but I need someone that can censor a few faces of citizens, and scrub sensitive audio which has personal info.

        • Guest

          If you want to drop a link to

  • rick

    Video posted on YouTube 2 years ago!
    Stories need to be listed as new or rehash with date of incident included.

    • Joseph Murray

      Never saw it before so It’s new to me. What the hell difference does it make?!

      • rick

        Who, what, when, where, why?
        A complete story attempts to answer these questions. Cultural perception, attitudes, and laws change with time. Remember it was just November 2012 when SCOTUS declined to hear an appeal to the Illinois wiretapping statute being ruled unconstitutional.
        From a purely legal standpoint, when the video was recorded in 2011 the legality of wiretapping (i.e. recording police without EXPLICIT consent) was still an open question.

    • pete

      I forwarded to Carlos. It looks like someone reposted the short version. The new upload date Was Oct 20. I didn’t know that it was two years old. My bad.

  • Carlos_Miller

    It was sent to me as new and I didn’t have time to really research it as I’ve been extremely busy these last few days hanging with Joel Chandler and Jeff Gray aka HONORYOUROATH.

    I wrote this as we were interviewing a couple of people for a pretty big story we’re working on.

    • Jaybone

      Looking forward to it.

      • Proud GrandPa

        Dittto, CM.

  • finely justice

    Carlos, You need to check out what just happened in East Haven, Connecticut. Two cops convicted over lying about a priest video recording them!

    • Wandering_Bard

      I just read that article.

      Both were charged with conspiracy, false arrest, excessive force and obstruction of justice – and found guilty on all counts.

      Facing up to 10 years in prison.

  • pete

    I forwarded to Carlos because the video upload date was 10-20-13. I like to scoure YouTube for relevant videos. I post them in forums a lot as well. Not sure how one can tell if a video is new or not unless one has seen it before. Just trying to do my part to support PINAC and the greater cause that most of us share.

  • Prisoner416 is my full version, but be warned there is a lot of nothing going on at parts. Only uploaded because watched the raw up.

    There are many, many good cops… it’s just the system as a whole that is corrupt. I was arrested when I was 18 for recording officers, but sadly was young, and my parents wanted things over with and were scared… took a deal to disorderly conduct and a fine, and the recording was deleted. The dude who did it is now Chief of police in Swatara Township, though. I document the police whenever police, but I have set rules. Do not antagonize them, listen to reasonable requests, and even if they have an attitude with you, remain calm and polite. It helps the court of public opinion when you’re polite and not acting like a jerk in kind, even though you have the right to. I would love to upload my positive police encounter, but I need someone that can censor a few faces of citizens, and scrub sensitive audio which has personal info.

  • Tijuana Joe
    North Korea cops delete photos just like that other country with the Eagle and Stripes….

  • Terry Wagar

    The Portland police and Multnomah county sheriff’s bragged on a audio death threat they are going to kill me they broke into my home and put this audio death threat on my computer in my folder on the desktop!

    Officer Eric Carlson And Joan Wagar Caught On Video Trying To Kill Me They Are Armed With Guns And Recording Devices And Their Caught Hiding In Ambush By My Front Door!

    A couple days later I called the Portland police to report the attempted murder that my wife and her lover are guilty of and they hung up on me, and an hour later I get a death threat via email sent to me via someone’s pre-paid phone, no words in the email, just a picture of someones face smashed in!
    I did not know how to take screen-shots at the time so I printed the photo that was on the email and copied the TO and FROM information on the email!

    Here is an email sent to me via a Multnomah county sheriff officer and he is taunting me on this email so this email demonstrates how authority’s are covering up my calls for help!
    This email shows how I can report felony crimes to local authority’s and instead of contacting me in a formal way they reply to me via their personal Blackberry phones and taunt me and ignore ALL MY COMPLAINTS!

    Proof of Joan Wagar my wife admitting she is a poisoner, proof the OHSU hospital knows I have internal bleeding and is covering up Joan Wagar’s written confessions that she is a poisoner and the OHSU is pretending to not know what’s wrong with me to cover up the poisonings!

    Proof that the Portland police and the OHSU hospital is denying me emergency services and threatening me in writing with arrest if I even go to my hospital!
    Proof my wife’s lover officer Eric Carlson was having an affair with my wife he admits to his affair with my wife in his lover letter and he admits that he calls my wife by the nickname Mrs Dash in his love letter!

    Proof that when I contact other law agency’s to report these crimes that other law agency’s refuse to take a complaint and refuse to assign case numbers thus demonstrating how complaints are simply completely ignored and suppressed by authority’s!

    Proof that I am being blocked from contacting law agency’s outside the USA to report these crimes, I am being blocked from contacting INTERPOL!

    I am even blocked from contacting Crimestoppers of Oregon and that is the website that the Portland police tells people to report local crime to the Portland police, it’s their official tip website where people are supposed to report local crimes to the Portland police! and I AM NOT WELCOME TO REPORT ANYTHING!

    Even the Texas Rangers refuse to take complaints and refuse to give a case number and even refuse to give the name of the officer refusing to help me!

    Proof Joan Wagar is a serial killer she admits in writing multiple times to using pills and antifreeze as poison and she admits I could not get help from police or from hospital and admits to her affair with officer Eric Carlson!

  • Terry Wagar

    Police and county sheriff’s are pedophiles and they pay photo doubles to make child porn and their fond of bragging about it at Walmart to their girlfriends!
    They laugh and brag about how they just got done using officer such and such as a double to frame such and such as a pedophile, and when their superiors show up to pick up the photogenic photo’s (child porn) they made they ask their superiors to erase such and such time off the video surveillance because officer such and such broke in there!

    Law enforcement cfan care less about the law and law enforcement breaks the law on a daily basis and has no qualms framing people for crimes that officer’s commit and officer’s LOVE using photo doubles and photogenic photo’s to frame people as pedophiles, and they have a name for this type of framing they call it pedofied and pedofying!

    While cops are framing their target as a pedophile and are actively destroying their targets reputation using news TV stations and news websites and using schools flyers to destroy their targets reputation they call that pedofying, when authority’s are satisfied that they completely destroyed their targets reputation with false pedophile accusations then they refer to the target as pedofied!

    Police are known to rent apartments surrounding their target and they will let their girlfriends that have children stay in those apartments rent free, all paid for by tax dollars under the pretense of an investigation, and police will pay their girlfriends to coach their children to play around and near the targets home/apartment and to make false pedophile accusations so the neighbors will hear it knowing it turns neighbors against the target!

    Pedofying is common in Portland Oregon and most all news stations and news websites in Oregon engage in pedofying people that police have it out for, and police on average pay woman that have children TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS to pedofy their target in this manner and they do it for months behind the targets back so the target does not know of the accusations made against him/her, but the neighbors do, and they sure as hell don’t volunteer the information to the target and instead shun the target thinking the target guilty when in fact the target did nothing wrong.

    Police and their accomplices stage all kinds of crimes in this manner and they do it for months to build cases against their target, fabricating cases by staging criminal activity’s using volunteers of which get paid by the police with tax dollars to perform for police video surveillance in order to set people up for crimes!

    This is common practice by authority’s, and the system is so corrupt that there is no one an individual can call for help, if you catch law enforcement and their lackey’s/girlfriends staging crimes for the purpose of framing someone there is no one that cares and no one takes complaints on it, at all!

    Most people that get pedofied by authority’s and news reporters in Oregon end up dead within five years whether they got a trial or not, and news reporters NEVER publicly mention the large amounts of deaths associated with police making pedophile accusations on someone in Oregon.

    Police and their bros and their girlfriends make pedophile accusations at the drop of a hat and don’t care if people can prove there lying because there is no one with a badge that cares and there is no attorney that cares, so police and their bros and girlfriends will smirk at people while making pedophile accusations knowing it turns people against their target, knowing their target cannot defend against such an accusation because people that are falsely accused are never afforded the right to publicly deny an accusation!

    So police in Portland Oregon pedofy people all the time, and they recruit people into pedofying people, they pay people to pedofy people, they use look-a-likes and photogenic photo’s to frame people as pedophiles, and they laugh and brag to their bros and girlfriends and even to their superiors about this.

    Are you aware how many people die after our Fascist police force pedofy’s someone? Are you aware of the statistics of deaths associated with such charges? are you aware that 9 times out of 10 police NEVER reveal who the accusers are because THEY DON’T REALLY HAVE A CASE AND ARE JUST MAKING FALSE ACCUSATIONS TO DESTROY SOMEONE?

  • Prisoner416
  • Barking Dog

    Just saw this.

    In a marked contrast to all the other stories on here, it is situations like this I joined up to film as a fire rescue/ crime scene cameraman 30 years ago. Too bad these stories are far and few between and when they happen are so rare as to make the news.

  • Keith Zavatski

    this video has been removed by the user. any secondary sources?

  • Prisoner416

    Hopefully this gets updated to fix the details and broken video.

  • Terry Wagar

    Police are organized murderers and they gang-stalk people and frame people and harass people and they batter people and when police batter people no one will call an ambulance for the battered person and after the fact police blackmail those battered people for signed waivers and no one cares there is no one a citizen can call that cares!

    No DA cares no attorney cares the whole system as one big Fascist pile of crap sits back and smirks at victims and disregards everything a witness/victim says and they pretend that the victim/witness is mentally ill to discredit the victim/witness!

    No doctor will help someone that is battered by police and no doctor will document the injury’s if it was police that caused the injury’s!

    Police are organized killers they been this way for many decades and they always put on a show for major news stations acting official and using spokespersons to talk on behalf of police because police themselves cannot speak on TV because they are too brutish and thuggish for that, which is WHY police pay with tax dollars spokesperson to speak on behalf of police!

    While citizens try figuring out the laws and try figuring out what we as citizens can do about police, the police are acting openly as criminals, organized criminals, and they run roughshod over anyone with impunity and smirk while doing it.

    When you are face to face with a smirking cop that is intentionally assaulting you then they are making it known to you at that moment that the LAW DON’T MEAN A DAMN THING TO THEM AND THAT THEY DO AS THEY PLEASE and they smirk because THEY WANT YOU TO KNOW IT!

    The problem is not just the police, police would not be doing this to people if it were not for the fact that the whole system is corrupt, every firefighter and paramedic and every doctor and every attorney and every prosecutor ALLOWS police to get away with the misconduct/criminal activity’s police commit and if anything they are aiding and abetting police officer’s in the commission of crimes they commit.

    The simple reality that everyone seems to avoid mentioning is that when you, as a citizen with RIGHTS exorcise those RIGHTS and charge a cop with a felony crime, you will discover at that moment just how corrupt the WHOLE SYSTEM IS because THAT’S WHEN everyone you come into contact with to complain to makes it known, just to you, that they can care less if you think a cop committed a crime or not.

    This is when our Fascist system makes it known, just to that one person that wants a cop arrested, that your eye-witness accounts of things means NOTHING to them and they can care less what a cop did to you or to anyone else.

    The system is Fascist and very much a bro system where if you work for the system then the system covers your butt, and if you do not work for the system and have no bros in the system then you are a target of said system!

    All TV shows on TV that portray police as “good guys” is nothing more than propaganda, and as we all know Fascist country’s relay heavily on propaganda to control the masses of people and to keep the masses ignorant of the crimes/atrocity’s committed by corrupt government!

    Police no longer take complaints when they don’t want to and police will argue with people making complaints on cops as a way of changing the subject and as a way of making it known to the person complaining that they can care less about your complaint.

    Your complaints are not welcome and are not recognized by our Fascist government and officer’s are not hiding the fact that they do not allow people to make complaints to them and instead cops will just look you in the face and start calling YOU a suspect and might even start accusing you of resisting an officer for doing nothing but asking a question to an officer!

    In many parts of the Fascist USA police will attack/batter a citizen for having the audacity to ask an officer a question!
    That’s not government! that’s not law! that’s just down right thuggish! and since no one in the system gives a damn when cops behave this way police are free with impunity to do as they please, until one of their victims is forced to act in self defense and shoot one of them, which or course never ends well for the victim, because fellow police officer’s will in turn kill that victim!

    Citizens that are victimized by police are not welcome to use self defense against a cop and never survive in order to use such a defense in a court of law because malicious cops will just kill the person and then police themselves, without bothering with any trial, will publicly label themselves as justified and that they acted in self defense.

    Citizens are never afforded to opportunity to public declare themselves justified and are never given the opportunity in court to say they acted in self defense, they just end up dead.

    • only by law

      What your stating is called ” THE PATRIOT ACT”

  • Anon47

    So… updates for this story or…

  • Terry Wagar

    The Portland police and Multnomah county sheriff’s use on a regular basis photo doubles to set people up with photogenic photo’s and they usually do this when they are framing someone as a pedophile!
    Authority’s do not like being recorded by citizens because half the time they are framing someone and are using doubles and many times they are using under cover cops to frame someone and they don’t want their under cover officer’s being caught in plain cloths at or near a crime scene!
    It is common knowledge at East Port Walmart and Clackamas Walmart that police and county sheriff’s are womanizing with other people’s wives and that they use look-a-likes to frame people!
    Of course news reporters tend to be mums the word on this because news reporters ALWAYS LIE FOR COPS!

  • Terry Wagar

    the Multnomah county sheriff’s have a history of using photo doubles and photogenic photo’s to frame people as pedophiles