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Old August 1, 2010, 03:53 PM   #1
JasonWilliam
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Man faces jail for videotaping gun-waving cop



Watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK5bMSyJCsg

Then watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izegE5fF7pA

There are two issues here. The obvious which is catching national attention and is covered in that second video.

But there's another issue; a theoretical...I think that cop is lucky he's not dead and/or was not involved in a shootout. Assuming I lived in a state that allowed it, I'd be conceal carrying. If someone jumped out of their car, toting a gun, failing to ID themselves, moving toward me in an aggressive manner...

Thoughts?
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Old August 1, 2010, 04:18 PM   #2
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Quote:
Thoughts?
I think there might be more to think about if the audio track was included when the motorcyclist suddenly turned to look at the car coming up behind him at 3:01 in the tape.
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Old August 1, 2010, 04:20 PM   #3
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As in a siren? Could be.
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Old August 1, 2010, 06:07 PM   #4
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DashCam?

Sooo, only the proper authorities are allowed to have DashCams?

What is good for one is good for all and this just proves the point. The full record may show the biker doing stupid stuff and also shows a patrolman out of control with his power?
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Old August 1, 2010, 06:30 PM   #5
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I've seen the extended video. There are no winners in this one, only losers.
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Old August 1, 2010, 06:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
But there's another issue; a theoretical...I think that cop is lucky he's not dead and/or was not involved in a shootout. Assuming I lived in a state that allowed it, I'd be conceal carrying. If someone jumped out of their car, toting a gun, failing to ID themselves, moving toward me in an aggressive manner...

Thoughts?
You would have been shot long before you cleared leather.
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Old August 1, 2010, 06:39 PM   #7
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Did the cop have a right to draw his gun?

What about displaying a badge?

And recording such an event should not be in any way criminal.

Last edited by CMichael; August 1, 2010 at 06:44 PM.
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Old August 1, 2010, 06:40 PM   #8
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I've always been on the cop's side in this argument. Motor vehicles can be, and are used, as deadly weapons just the same as a gun. I feel that the lack of a showing badge does make it a bit grey, but, the motorcyclist could have just as easily run into the man when he stepped out to stop the negligent motorist. I also feel that the cyclist should not be in trouble for recording, as it seems that recording and internet use should fall under the first amendment, but... I guess their should also be some kind of barriers for certain activities.

Yeah, this... is a tough one, but, I'm very interested in how the whole thing works out.
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Old August 1, 2010, 06:55 PM   #9
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As a general proposition, the police seem to be too willing to claim that their actions can't be videoed, recorded, or photographed when those media capture and portray police actions in a negative fashion.
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Old August 1, 2010, 07:57 PM   #10
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The Officer is as wrong as two left feet in my opinion.

First of all what had the biker done to justify the use of deadly physical force? Why did the officer hold him at gunpoint? If the Biker refused to stop and rode away ... would the Officer have shot him?

Secondly Why didnt the Officer identify himself... Other than muttering "state police". The officer displayed no shield, or ID card, and he wasnt in uniform. The vehical he was driving didnt appear to be an official vehical, nor did it appear to have flashing lights, or a siren.

This could have turned out to be a tragedy. If the Officer had used deadly force, or if the civilian had used deadly force. Or if the Biker had been another cop from a different jurisdiction.

Was it prudent for the officer to be personally involved while off duty, and ill equiped to handle a traffic stop? Was it good judgment on the Officers behalf to endanger all the innocent civilians around them? Is it possible that a traffic accident could have happened as a result of the Officers actions?

99 9/10ths of the time I will see things from the officers point of view, and defend him/her. This Time the Officer was wrong... Just luckely not dead wrong. IMO it looked more like a "JACK" than it did a police vehical stop.
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Old August 1, 2010, 08:38 PM   #11
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Wow, wow! Rambo there is bloody wrong. Why does he feel he has to pull out his gun? Seems to me he went into full escalation mode, maybe feeling a little disrepected? I support LEO, but some of them need to not take every stupid thing people do so damn personal. It isn't about him, he just is not that important to the perp.
Need a sense of humor. He was not intending to hurt himself, cop or anyone else, just being stupid as you see many bikers do. Now cop needs to take a chill pill issue the guy a ticket if cop feels the need to, go home in peace, nobody gets hurt and everyone is happy except the guy getting the ticket. Pulling out the gun? :barf::barf:
What do they mean he can't tape it? His camera was already rolling. Anything going on on a PUBLIC roadway is fair game on camera. I suspect the LEO just upset he got caught completely out of line there with his Rambo antics.
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Old August 1, 2010, 08:52 PM   #12
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Sarge's Dirty Dozen

1. If you drive like an idiot you invite the police to detain you.
2. Expect that detention to be on their terms- not yours.
3. Officer should have identified himself earlier in the contact.
4. He was not even good & mad, much less 'out of control'.
5. The cyclist appears to be backing away for unknown reasons.
6. Don't know that I would have pulled a gun at that point, but I won't Monday morning QB the cop for doing it. He did stay at low ready and reholster at the earliest opportunity.
7. There is no expectation of privacy for either party, during a LE contact such as this.
8. It should never be illegal for the public to film the police in a public setting.
9. If I found a recording device I would have seized it, obtained a search warrant and reviewed it to see why the high-speed driving. Robbery, etc?
10. Counseling on 'proper ID' for the officer, note in personnel file.
11. Tickets for Evel Kenevel wannabe. Lots.
12. This stuff wears me out. I need a donut & some coffee.
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Old August 1, 2010, 08:59 PM   #13
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Sarge, for the win!
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Old August 1, 2010, 09:08 PM   #14
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Sarge I mostly agree with most of the points except
Quote:
5. The cyclist appears to be backing away for unknown reasons.
First of all, backing off is a natural reaction to threat of deadly force. A lot of folks would run in fact. The cop is not in uniform! Trust me if I was this guy I'd be thinking mad motorist taking law into his own hands and would be fear too. After seeing this, even after the cop identifies himself I'd still be fear for my life. Ever heard of cops not in uniform shooting unarmed guys who are not fighting them to the tune of 40-50 times in NYC? No wonder people don't trust the cops. Excessive unjustified force is a real issue. If this guy was off duty, he should not even have the right to effect a traffic stop as this can have very bad results. If the cops ran around like this guy, how does the public distinguish them from robbers for example? In the heat of the moment you will not even hear the "state police" because what you see conflicts with what he is saying.

I think cop only has the right to act like he did if the perp is fighting or threatening to. Backing off is more like flight.

Last edited by dec41971; August 1, 2010 at 09:15 PM.
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Old August 1, 2010, 09:17 PM   #15
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...or gaining space to get a run at you.

There is no use of force policy or caselaw, of which I am aware, that requires an officer to be fought or threatened before obtaining his or her firearm. These things are fluid and split seconds decide life or death.

If you flee or give the appearance of flight, expect a roadside gunshow when they get you stopped. Nobody knows why you're fleeing and nobody's taking chances until it's sorted out. This is pretty much covered by #2 above.
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Old August 1, 2010, 09:18 PM   #16
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Sarge heads up he backed away because he was sitting up. on a crotch-rocket you lean onto the tank so when you sit up you have to reposition in your seat thus backing up. Also I think the cop over reacted. Putting your hand on your gun is one thing but drawing it for a traffic stop?
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Old August 1, 2010, 10:01 PM   #17
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So, lets see any time anyone says "I am police" one should imediatly comply with any request. Here in Indianapolis there was a fellow who had lights on his car and a badge that was pulling women over They complied I forget if he was robing or attempting rape but I don't think he was caught. The local news reported that it was recomended to remain in ones car untill uniformed officers arrived. when one was pulled over by plain cloths in unmarked cars or to proceed slowly to a well lit area or nearest police station. Never have heard if anyone tried that though. Likely a charge of trying to escape would be your reward for caution. We all know badges are only carried by the authorities and are not available to the general public in any way. And it is illegal for anyone to impersonate a policeman so all badges are real and anyone who says "STOP POLICE" is realy who they say they are.
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Old August 1, 2010, 10:06 PM   #18
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At 33 seconds into the video, the guy begins a wheelie, just before passing a bus-sized RV, standing down after he passes it. At 39 seconds, he's sped up to 127 MPH. At 1:07, we see the cop. At 2:26, the guy passes the unmarked car doing 80+ MPH. At 3:02, he looks back and the unmarked car is right behind him. At 3:13, the bike is completely stopped. At 3:15, the unmarked car pulls ahead and to the side of him. The driver door opens and a guy gets out (3:16). The motorcyclist appears to be backing away (on the bike)... This is when the officer draws his firearm (3:17) and orders the biker to get off the bike. At 3:18, the officer has completed his draw and is at low carry (while the bike is still backing up). At 3:19 - 3:21, the cop moves quickly up to the bike, grabbing the faring with his left hand, preventing the bike from moving further to the rear. The officer orders him off the bike a second time, then quickly a third time and identifies himself at this point. At 3:23, with the biker off the bike, the officer begins to holster his firearm. At 3:26, holstering is complete. At 3:36, we see the uniformed officer.

I see nothing wrong in what the officer did, other then possibly drawing to prevent the escape of a (dangerous and stupid) guy. Was it called for? I'm not going to second guess this one.
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Old August 1, 2010, 10:16 PM   #19
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I think the cop acted within reason, all things considered, but I *really* think that all the BS wiretapping charges against the rider need to be dropped.
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Old August 1, 2010, 11:37 PM   #20
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FYI...looks like the motorcyclist will only have to face the driving charges, not the so-called "wiretapping" beef: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/201...aw-enforcement
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Old August 1, 2010, 11:50 PM   #21
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Putting aside the other issues for the time being, you must be a blithering idiot to drive a motorcycle in that manner on a Maryland highway, where you will encounter:

1) Some of the nation's most inattentive, incompetent motorists - who rarely if ever signal their intentions and for whom the notion of looking for motorcyclists is an entirely alien concept.

2) Aggressive? Nay! Rabid speed enforcement and a veritable blanket of laser and microwave coverage on essentially every high speed motorway in the state.

3) Judges who will rarely, if ever contemplate any sort of defense in traffic court (ie...hire an attorney if it makes you feel warm and fuzzy, but don't expect miracles when you're in the docket).
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Old August 2, 2010, 07:34 AM   #22
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I thought you all knew by now it is against the laws to

photograph or record a police officer while they are doing their job....

I learned that, almost the hard way, over 8 years ago, in Hershey PA.


The only thing potentially worse is to take a picture of a Federal Building..

I messed up and 'got caught' taking pictures of an Amtrac train a few years back....
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Old August 2, 2010, 10:10 AM   #23
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Quote:
I see nothing wrong in what the officer did, other then possibly drawing to prevent the escape of a (dangerous and stupid) guy. Was it called for? I'm not going to second guess this one.
We don't have the full story, but this smells like cop-baiting. The guy just happened to have a camera operating while he was driving recklessly (and documenting it), and he just happened to get pulled over by an unmarked police car?

In any case, his driving patterns indicated a certain disregard for his own safety, as well as that of others.
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Old August 2, 2010, 02:25 PM   #24
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Speaking as another motorcyclist (25+ years on two wheels) some of the comments have been spot-on and others less than accurate.

#1 - ride like an idiot, expect to get pulled over.
#2 - Popping wheelies on public roads is stupid - "exhibition of speed"
#3 - Excessive speeding gets you noticed by the wrong people -- in blue.

Now... did the rider warrant a stop? Sure. For what charges?
- Excessive speed: 80+ mph in a [65/70] mph zone.
- Exhibition of speed: i.e. popping wheelies.
- Failing to signal lane change x 4

Are any of those charges worthy of the display of a firearm?
Not unless behind the camera, someone had to take sudden evasive maneuvers because of the bike's actions (doubtful). Then we'd add reckless driving. (Statutes and charges vary state by state so I'm being general here).

Maryland law may differ, however I saw no flashing lights on the plainclothes officer's car. Not even 4-way flashers. This indicates it may have been his POV (personal car). The rider turns around a 3:01 to look at the car. This may have been in response to a car horn (or siren, we just don't know) -- but there were no emergency lights showing either. Not even headlights.

M/C rider's view
If a car honks it's horn and displays no warning lights behind me, then comes up in the manner this p/c cop did, of course I'm going to back up. His door is opening and I have no idea of his intentions. This could have easily been an angry Joe Sixpack with a baseball bat (or - as happened to me - a diving knife) about to commit ADW over the rider's behavior. Backing away is a reasonable and prudent precaution in this case.

Quote:
At 3:15, the unmarked car pulls ahead and to the side of him. The driver door opens and a guy gets out (3:16). The motorcyclist appears to be backing away (on the bike)... This is when the officer draws his firearm (3:17) and orders the biker to get off the bike.
I'll politely disagree. On my playing of the video, the officer is clearly reaching for his sidearm at 3:16, even before he exits the car. In fact, his left foot is barely on the ground and you can see his right elbow sticking up. At 3:16+ his left foot is solidly on the ground, right foot still in the car, right hand on the weapon (out of sight) and left hand over the belt line.

In other words, the officer started drawing his gun the moment he turned his body to exit the car. This would have been before seeing the bike backing away.

Marked cruiser:
At the end, we see a glimpse of the marked unit. Again, no warning lights in the grille or roof. The stop did not even warrant the officer activating the front warning & stop lights (he may have activated his rear lights, which we cannot see).

Legalities and Review:
If the car (Chevy?) used by the p/c cop is not an agency vehicle but his personal car and/or he was off duty, then the officer is liable for any VC violations he made during the incident. This would include speeding, unsafe "lane change" (blocking the bike) and unlawful parking on a highway.

Since none of the rider's actions amounted to a felony (unless Maryland law is far different than other states regarding excessive speed) the most the officer can charge is a misdemeanor. Had the rider, focused on the "man with a gun" elected to flee the area before the officer ID'd himself the officer could not legally charge "evading" or "resisting", nor legally used his firearm.

Thus, the officer should be facing disciplinary action for removing his gun from his holster inappropriately. He should also be reprimanded for using his POV (or un-equipped vehicle) for a traffic stop and failure to properly identify himself.

Had it been me, about the 3rd frame of 3:16, as the unknown man is obviously reaching for a gun, he would have had 750 pounds of acellerating Honda Goldwing imprinting Dunlop Elite tire patterns over his body. I've been there before, but it was a guy pulling out a large diving knife on a city street and getting soundly "bumped" by the bike gave me time to ride a block away to phone PD.

Video recording:
The rider was arrested and charged with VC violations. Good. Maybe he'll wise up and live a few more years.

But it wasn't until weeks later that he posted the video on YouTube. And that is when police decided to raid his home, confiscate computers, cameras and other equipment and re-arrest him on "wiretapping" violations.

That's pure, unadulterated BS. If the instigating officer was the same one who stopped him, then the State Police ought to be hitting him with even more disciplinary actions, possibly termination. It would smack of a vengance prosecution. And the local DA ought to be questioned about his decision to prosecute such a case.

It is not unlawful to take photographs in any public space where you have a legal right to be present. This includes highways. In light of how some officers are prone to shoot claiming the subject failed to keep his hands away from his person, it would be unreasonable to expect the rider, facing a gun-toting officer to reach up to his helmet or to some recording device in his clothing to turn off the recording device. That would invite the potential use of deadly force.

The police cannot have it both ways. They cannot claim that their dashcams or other recording devices are legal, but the citizens recording the same event from their vehicle or persons is somehow a "violation of the officer's privacy" in a public place. In fact, officers should not have any expectation of privacy when dealing with citizens in any public place and only limited privacy within any building, including someone's home.
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Old August 2, 2010, 04:38 PM   #25
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Point of order regarding
Quote:
... At 1:07, we see the cop. At 2:26, the guy passes the unmarked car doing 80+ MPH. At 3:02, he looks back and the unmarked car is right behind him.
If the comments on YouTube are to be believed all three cars you mentioned are different vehicles. The video is mislabeled at 1:07 (acknowledged by the guy who labeled it).

Just wanted to clarify that. I would assume (for the sake of this discussion) the rider was not aware that the car was police nor that any of them were the same, as evidenced by his lack-of-pull-over when he came to a stop on the offramp, nor any attempt to blow past the stopped cars to outrun the police.
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