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Motorcyclist Faces Wiretap Charge for Videotaping Off-Duty Maryland Trooper

August 05, 2010  | 

A motorcyclist who was pulled over by a Maryland State Police officer could serve up to 16 years in prison for using his helmet camera to videotape the trooper.

The incident was brought to a national audience by a Time Magazine editorial that asked the question, "Should Videotaping the Police Really Be a Crime?"

During a traffic stop in March, trooper Joseph Uhler pulled over Anthony Graber, a Maryland Air National Guard staff sergeant who was speeding on Interstate 95 while riding his motorcycle.

Graber used a high-definition camera mounted to his helmet to record video and audio of the trooper pulling him over, drawing a pistol and ordering him off the bike (Watch a 24-second YouTube video of the incident).

Following the issuance of a citation, Graber learned the Maryland attorney general's office would be filing wiretapping charges against him. In Maryland, it is a felony to record someone without them knowing.

However, the incident occurred on a public roadway while the officer was performing a public act, which may unravel the case, according to the magazine editorial.

VIDEO: Watch a news report from the local ABC affiliate that includes an interview wih Graber and footage from a Maryland State Police press conference.

Comments (9)

Displaying 1 - 9 of 9

c1ogden @ 8/5/2010 7:40 PM

This law is a bunch of BS! Everybody has the right to record what he sees and hears for his own protection. As we all know, the only person who objects to being recorded is the one who is planning to lie about what he said or did. If you don't lie then you have nothing to fear! Only the most dishonest politician would vote for a law like this!

c1ogden @ 8/5/2010 7:46 PM

I just watched the video. This cop is lucky the biker wasn't armed. No badge, no ID, and he's coming at the guy with a gun in his hand! He's just asking to be shot! The video doesn't show what happened before the biker stoppped but what it does show looks like a "road rage" psycho with a gun!

mtarte @ 8/5/2010 8:15 PM

The US Supreme Court has ruled that no one has a right to privacy in a public place. This law is stupid. Of course, I never liked it when someone was recording me, but then again, I wasn't doing anything that was in conflict with policy or the law. This is a stupid law and all it does is make it look worse for police everywhere. As far as the officer's actions, I have problems with how he approached this rider, but then again, we don't see the entire violation either.

OldLt @ 8/5/2010 11:32 PM

I like the attitude of the Maryland AG's office being proactive on the side of officers. That said, I think they are entirely off base with this case. Just as we can record with audio and video, I believe the public can too.

dhealy @ 8/6/2010 3:45 AM

I've heard a lot of commentary about this video and unlike most of you, I know the trooper involved in this incident. The motorcyclist started coming forward towards the trooper and he throught the driver was going to run him over, that's why he drew his service weapon. The trooper is getting a lot of flack. He charged the guy with one or two traffic violations, it was other investigators who pursued the other charges. I will finish with saying there is a lot more to this investigation then what has been reported. I won't go into any further details then that.

USAF Cop @ 8/6/2010 7:06 AM

The bike is running, he's wearing a helmet, bad peripheral vision. A gray car speeds in and cuts him off, no lights flashing, a guy with a gun gets out and moves toward him, no badge showing, can't hear the officer identify himself. The bike doesn't move toward the officer, just rolling backwards (and I have seen the whole video). Complete BS, doing what he did for traffic violations. Is that a great use of force continuum or what?

Charlie-Columbus @ 8/6/2010 10:46 AM

Police behavior like this causes citizens to lose respect for correctly behaving police officers. I agree with OldLt below, the Maryland AG's office is supporting the police but in this case the police are entirely off base.

The off duty officer drawing his gun before IDing himself is asking to get shot. If the motorcyclist had been a real 1%er the officer really might have been shot.

There is no reason to expect that the motorcyclist had recognized the marked patrol cruiser behind him, therefor the off duty officer is really far over the line.

deltacharlieone @ 8/6/2010 4:39 PM

Simply put Police like this have serious anger management problem and abuse thier right to carry and patrol. No need for this officer to act like this....maybe he feels after so many stops that all people are to be treated like dogs --gladly pay for him to go to MEXICO with his car all weapons all he wants to carry RADIOS ect ect I give him 2 days in NOGALES or Juarez acting like this before parts of him are shipped back to USA.. You all know deep in you minds and hearts I am 100% correct nop matter what police you are !!!

OLD SGT @ 8/30/2011 5:31 AM

The video is captioned "man faces charges by out of control cop".

The off-duty trooper safely captured a serious traffic violator. He drew his weapon in case he needed it to defend himself and did so without pointing the weapon at the violator. The trooper to charge of this situation and re-holstered his weapon after determining that there was no further threat from the violator. At no time did the trooper loose control of this situation. The video tape will aid in the prosecution of the traffic cannot be ommitted under the right to self incrimination protections. I do wonder about the constitutionality of this Maryland law...It seems contrary to other rulings. This Trooper was being pro-active and did not just look the other way as some have..."To protect and serve!"

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