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Who is Above the Law?

[ It’s apparently okay for police powers to watch you, videotape you, wiretap you, catalog your Internet activity, listen to your phone calls, read your emails, review your library loans,  fine you, catalog you, pat you down, frisk up your shirt, scan your genitalia, strip search you, taser you, imprison you (without explanation or probable cause), and now, to even KILL you without a trial — but if YOU try to videotape them for your own protection, you are considered a public enemy… Anyone else see a problem with this in so-called “free” America? ]

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Growing Number of Prosecutions for Videotaping the Police

Prosecutions Draw Attention to Influence of Witness Videos

That Anthony Graber broke the law in early March is indisputable. He raced his Honda motorcycle down Interstate 95 in Maryland at 80 mph, popping a wheelie, roaring past cars and swerving across traffic lanes.
But it wasn’t his daredevil stunt that has the 25-year-old staff sergeant for the Maryland Air National Guard facing the possibility of 16 years in prison. For that, he was issued a speeding ticket. It was the video that Graber posted on YouTube one week later — taken with his helmet camera — of a plainclothes state trooper cutting him off and drawing a gun during the traffic stop near Baltimore.

In early April, state police officers raided Graber’s parents’ home in Abingdon, Md. They confiscated his camera, computers and external hard drives. Graber was indicted for allegedly violating state wiretap laws by recording the trooper without his consent.

Arrests such as Graber’s are becoming more common along with the proliferation of portable video cameras and cell-phone recorders. Videos of alleged police misconduct have become hot items on the Internet. YouTube still features Graber’s encounter along with numerous other witness videos. “The message is clearly, ‘Don’t criticize the police,'” said David Rocah, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland who is part of Graber’s defense team. “With these charges, anyone who would even think to record the police is now justifiably in fear that they will also be criminally charged.”

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