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.
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.
Thanks for the tip, everyone.