Squid defeats thug cop in landmark recording case

Dailies -

By

Officer-J-Uhler

Remember Anthony Graber? The jackass who pulled wheelies and hit speeds of up to 140mph on a crowded suburban highway in Maryland and then filmed a gun-wielding maniac cop threatening him, prompting wire tapping charges from the police? The judge hearing the case just threw out the charges, a decision that could prove a landmark case for individual rights.
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The whole controversy here wasn’t even over Graber’s reckless riding or Officer J. Uhler’s thuggery, as seen in the video above, it was over Graber’s right to film and publish video of the traffic stop. Police had been abusing an archaic wire tapping law to prevent citizens from taping the totally professional and courteous way in which they perform their duties, claiming that even though they were, in many cases, filming the actions themselves and were operating in an official capacity in a public place, that they enjoyed a reasonable expectation of privacy. After Graber published the video, police raided his home, confiscated his computer equipment and detained members of his family.

Yesterday, a Harford County judge threw out the case, writing in his decision, “Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public. When we exercise that power in a public forum, we should not expect our activity to be shielded from public scrutiny.”

Had he been convicted, Graber faced up to 16 years in prison and the loss of his government security clearance and therefore his job as a defense contractor.

“This is one of the best days in my life that I’ve ever had,” Graber told The Baltimore Sun. “It’s such a huge relief, I can’t even explain. The judge left intact only traffic violations that include speeding and reckless and negligent driving.”

“I think it means that police officers around the state are on notice that it simply is not a crime to tape a police officer or any other public official engaged in the public performance of their duties,” stated a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The cops, understandably, were less pleased. An attorney representing them said the ruling, “will make it more difficult for the police to do their jobs.” And sensationally warned of members of the public eavesdropping as police took statements of medical history from victims of crimes.

Graber ended up selling the CBR1000RR you can see him riding in the video. “I don’t want to ever have a motorcycle again,” he stated.

via The Baltimore Sun

Thanks for the tip, everyone.

  • noone1569

    Well, this is a victory for humanity; however, I am still a little pissed off at this kid for putting fellow military motorcyclists in such a bad light.

    This judge, however, is one of the few left who actually seem to understand the Constitution.

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

      I get what you mean about public perception – but that guy is no more a motorcyclist than I would be a solider if I picked up a gun and fired a few shots.

      Those type of people are just thrill-seekers, unfortunately grouped together with non-licensed riders and others to help the public and government maintain their negative perception of motorcycling.

  • nicktp

    Glad he won and equally glad he’s leaving the bike world forever. We don’t need him.

  • http://www.susokary.com/ Jérôme Pierre

    @Noone1569 & Nicktp:
    +1
    ;]

    Greetings from France.

  • richard gozinya

    It’s a strange tale, the protagonists being a camera and a judge. At least the squid is repentant, and did the right thing, selling his bike, making the world a slightly brighter place. Unfortunately, the cops remain convinced of their righteousness, not surprising, but still unfortunate.

  • zato1414

    Amazing! Both douchebags lose. As a Marylander (Hate to admit it) Uhler did everyone a favor, let’s hear it for the Judge. Uhler’s mistake of pulling his firearm, was failing to shoot ether Graber or the Honda.

    Graber probably sold his CBR to look good for his standing charges. He still could lose his clearance and/or end up walking to work for a couple of decades! Most Maryland Troopers and Deputies don’t have Graber’s “Dirty Harry” video persona, he is special…

    • michael.engle

      “Uhler’s mistake of pulling his firearm, was failing to shoot ether Graber or the Honda.”

      Really?! I’d say Uhler’s very fortunate Graber wasn’t carrying a weapon himself. That little scene could have been a lot worse. Irresponsible hoonage is one thing, deadly force is quiet another.

      And bravo Mr. Judge. Well done!

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    This will keep everyone accountable. The motorist can tape the cops, the cops already tape the motorists, so everyone will be watching everyone.

  • John

    This jackass stunt was worth it for the court case that ensued and the judgement rendered.

  • joker325is

    gun wielding maniac cop? he looked pretty calm to me. yep, the gun probably didnt need to come out, and he should have pulled his badge out quicker, but i think he handled it pretty well.

    i agree that the wire tapping laws need to be changed, but i also know that it will make a peace officers job more difficult. gotta weigh the pros and cons. we’ll see how it goes. this is gonna be a historic case if it does get the laws changed

    • slowestGSXRever

      I fail to see how being taped will make a peace officer’s job more difficult.
      That implies they have to think or act differently when they are on tape vs when they are not and that should not be true. They should be doing their job the same regardless of being on tape or not, it shouldn’t make a bit of difference. I don’t get it :(

    • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

      I’ll trot out the same argument law enforcement officers use when they try to violate my rights; if you’re not doing anything illegal, you have nothing to worry about.

    • joker325is

      this is my train of thought;

      Some lowlife rapes your daughter or wife, beats them severely. The police find him and take him into custody. He tapes them. In the process of detaining him, they make him lie on 115 degree(Fahrenheit) asphalt for officer safety reasons(its harder to draw a weapon when down with your hands out sideways). In court, the defense convinces the jury that it was police brutality, and he gets off with a generously reduced sentence.

      It not only hurts the victims, but it makes police second guess what they’ve been taught. next time they might allow the guy to stay standing, and end up being shop themselves.

      I’m currently studying law and you wouldnt believe some of the things that help get some of the worst beings imaginable off with highly reduced sentencing. how many of them do you think change? through my last class, we studied a lot of rape cases. i was sickened the entire time

      • joker325is

        second to last word in paragraph three should be “shot”.

      • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

        I don’t know, extreme hypotheticals aren’t usually a good basis for law. In the opposite direction, what if, while wearing a helmet cam, a plain-cloths cop in an unmarked car came running at you with his gun drawn at a red light? :)

        The point is, I believe in the justice systems ability to come to a fair verdict; we should never be afraid of more evidence or more viewpoints. Often, the cases you are citing are used as a slap at a common police tactic that has run rampant. Sure, it may not seem logical in the context of one single case, but when viewed as the court pushing back against increasingly militaristic police behavior, it makes sense.

        Also, judging by your screen name, you’ve got good taste in cars :) E30?

        • joker325is

          I’ve had guns drawn on me before, and if anyone were to draw a gun on me, id want it to be a cop (unless we’re in oakland lol). imo he did the right thing. if some dude in plain clothes came running at me id just take off. the only other thing i have a problem with is that he got out of the car at all. most departments dont let their plain clothes cops do traffic stops of almost any kind. idk, just my humblest opinion.

          Why thank you for the compliment. Actually, I’ve owned two e36 325is’s. right now i have a 1993 ford ranger and a 2001 cbr600 f4i. My next endeavor will be trading my truck for an e30 325is or ix. i’ve always wanted one and would bring her back to LIFE! lol.

          • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

            Love me some e30 325is, I’ve had two. Skip the ix, all it does is add weight and mechanical complication.

  • robotribe

    Wow. Smells like actual Justice.

  • ike6116

    Im torn, I don’t want to root for 2 fast 2 furious squids but I also don’t like cops who have an erection for this shit and think they should never be held accountable. At the end of the day this really wasn’t that bad… Squid endangers’ innocent motorists, cop makes him shit his pants a little and in the end I win by then ensuing court case setting the right precedent. Win, win, win!

  • mchale2020

    Wait, this guy worked as a defense contractor and didn’t see the possible legal implications for squiding his pants all over the interstate?

    Jesus Christ, he and I should swap roles in society. He won’t miss the bank because he wore crap gear and then sold his bike while I can finally afford to do track days more than a couple times a year.

    I mean if you’re going to break the law, don’t do it in the most obvious places to instigate and agitate the authorities.

  • Shinigami

    Hmm. This rider was a jackass for his riding, but those thugs in NYC riding 130+ on the LIRR at night are glorified here as some sort of urban heroes. What’s the difference, the ambient light level?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Without getting into a debate on their respective impacts on the image of motorcycling or the social responsibility of fast riding, NY’s Fastest demonstrate real skill and real passion for what they’re doing. That’s enough to make them interesting even if the other aspects of their exploits are less desirable.

      • GuessWho

        We dont ride the LIRR(Long Island Rail Road)or the LIE.

  • Balzaak

    I’m already appreciating the ripple affect this will have in future cases regarding the recording of cops in action.

    +1 for the Judge

    • RandyS

      The ripple effect will most likely be insignificant.

      Trial court cases do not have the weight of precedent. So, the police can continue to use this law as they have been until a similar case makes it to a higher court and the court rules that the law has been misinterpreted, misapplied, or is unconstitutional.

      What might cause some ripple effect is if the defendant (the motorcyclist) sues the police civilly for various torts for unjustifiably detaining him and his family and for confiscating his possessions in retaliation for posting the video on YouTube. It shouldn’t be hard for him to find an attorney willing to handle the case for him on a contingent basis. However, his career might make pursuing such an action inadvisable.

      Note that this entire scenario might have worked out differently in another state. For instance, I practice law in California, and in California there is a part of the vehicle code pertaining to evidence that excludes all evidence gained by a police officer in plain clothes, in an unmarked police car, involved in making a pure traffic stop. This law came about a couple of decades ago when some bad guys went around robbing and raping while pretending to be police officers in unmarked cars.

      Officers shouldn’t be making traffic stops in unmarked vehicles. Eventually that will get someone killed (either a police officer or a citizen.) At the very least, folks should be entitled to know that the person trying to stop them is really a police officer and not a crazy person/criminal.

  • circuitsports

    So much for the golden future, I can’t even start
    I’ve had every promise broken, there’s anger in my heart
    you don’t know what it’s like, you don’t have a clue
    if you did you’d find yourselves doing the same thing too

    Breaking the law, breaking the law

    rock on my fellow 2 wheelers

  • circuitsports

    I’d buy the squidder a case for toeing up to the man anyway, never say die!!!

  • http://papasanphoto.com Papasan

    Feels good, even if it ain’t my win…

    Papasan OUT!

  • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

    “He did not dispute he was driving fast on his 2008 Honda CR-V motorcycle while testing the $300 helmet cam he had just purchased.”

    Really? I don’t think we have that bike in Australia.

    • noone1569

      How’d he convert a mini-suv to a motorcycle? That’s what I want to know!

  • davidqrosen

    seriously, doesn’t this cop have a badge. nothing says cop faster than a badge. a gun used in this manner just means “asshole”. without the aclu, this man might have seen his life go down the drain — certainly had his bank account drained beyond repair. shame on the d.a. and the police department devoting resources, time and money on prosecuting a case like this. davidqrosen http://www.scoutgarage.com