A motorcyclist was stopped by an off-duty police officer for speeding and “popping wheelies”. Unfortunately, for the officer, the motorcyclist was also wearing a helmet cam. The recording showed the officer draw his gun rather than his badge. Compounding his error, the officer in plain clothes says “Get off the motorcycle” three times before identifying himself as a cop. The motorcyclist received a traffic ticket and posted his video on YouTube.
Needless to say, police officers should not draw their gun during a routine traffic stop making this incident disconcerting. However, adding insult to injury, four days later, the Maryland state police showed up at his home and confiscated the motorcyclist’s computers and threatened to bring felony criminal charges for allegedly making an illegal recording.
In Maryland, it is illegal to secretly record someone’s conversation without their permission. The law, however, is designed to punish eavesdropping or secretly recording telephone or other conversations. Here, the motorist was in the public, and the recording device was in plain view.
To me, this case represents a clear example of police misconduct, and shameless over-reaching. The video clearly shows that there was no justification for the officer to brandish his weapon, and rather than acknowledge the lapse of judgment, the Maryland state police responded by abusing their power.
Why can’t people accept responsibility for their actions? It never ceases to amaze me at the lengths that people will go to avoid simply apologizing.