VIDEO: America's Out-Of-Control Police State
3. This footage of a bizarre traffic stop one a Maryland highway ended up going viral as soon as it hit YouTube. In the days following its public unveiling, however, the poster, who had had a gun pulled on him by a plainclothesman, experienced a world of hurt courtesy of the the local five-oh. First, six cops came to his house with a warrant for all of his electronics equipment; and second, he was arrested for felony wiretapping. (In Maryland, that means possibly five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.)
The story is this: a State Police officer stopped Maryland Air National Guard staff sergeant Anthony Graber for speeding, then the officer pulled a gun before identifying himself. The implications of Graber's description of his life (recounted above) after getting pulled over are obvious: he is being harassed by the police because of the incident.
Graber was charged with wiretapping, it turns out, for recording the cop with the helmet cam, even though the camera was already rolling when he was pulled over and had no specific intention to record anyone. Luckily, months later, Judge Emory A Plitt Jr. figured out this was ridiculous and dismissed the wiretapping charge.
Greg Shipley, a spokesperson for the Maryland State Police, responds: "Mr. Graber left out the part that, as he was traveling up I-95 in excess of 100 mph, often on one wheel on his motorcycle, he passed a marked Maryland State Police car driven by an on-duty trooper in uniform. Simultaneously, the on-duty trooper in plainclothes witnessed the driving behavior. Both troopers followed the motorcycle driven by Graber."
Shipley went on to explain that the trooper "had his gun out because he believed Graber was revving his engine and may have tried to drive toward him in an attempt to flee. He was asked by the trooper if he was being recorded and he said no. Subsequent to that, troopers pursued charges for him related to Maryland's wiretapping law that prohibits audio taping an individual without their knowledge or consent.
The spokesperson continued: "As you stated, the charge was dismissed. It has been made clear to all Maryland state troopers that citizens can videotape them in the performance of their duties in public places. We are complying with the judge's ruling."
4. Darren Hunt, a news reporter for an Arizona ABC affiliate, was arrested for "interfering" with police business in 2009 after exercising his freedom of the press.
Hunt, filming interviews near the scene of a car crash, was told to get back in his "truck" and drive away by a police officer – an order given without explanation. The arresting officer first told Hunt to move, and Hunt moved away, but told the officer as he went that he was only filming, not interfering. This appeared to enrage the officer, who chased Hunt down and cuffed him as the reporter complained: "I'm just trying to leave..."