Police officer Joseph Uhler was caught on film charging out of his unmarked car and waving his gun at a unarmed motorcyclist pulled over for speeding. When the footage was uploaded to YouTube, authorities raided Anthony Graber’s home, seized his computers, arrested him, and charged him with “wiretapping” offenses that could land him in jail for 16 years.
The ACLU of Maryland is defending Anthony Graber, who potentially faces 16 years in prison if found guilty of violating state wiretap laws because he recorded video of an officer drawing a gun during a traffic stop. The ACLU attorney handling the case says, “To charge Graber with violating the law, you would have to conclude that a police officer on a public road, wearing a badge and a uniform, performing his official duty, pulling someone over, somehow has a right to privacy when it comes to the conversation he has with the motorist.”
Indeed, Maryland contends that Uhler had a reasonable expectation of privacy while waving his gun around in public and yelling at a motorist with a giant video camera mounted on the top of his helmet.
Remarkably, the state Attorney General has already opined that when police record in public, that is not a private conversation subject to the same laws. In other words, in any public interaction between a police officer and a member of the public in Maryland, it is private for one of them but not the other.
“We have looked, and have not been able to find a single court anywhere in the country that has found an expectation of privacy for an officer in such circumstances,” writes the ACLU.
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