Embarrass A Cop In Maryland? That'll Be Five Years In Jail.

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79 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    In some states, the wiretap law does consider a conversation with a police private. I remember a case involving a guy who recorded a traffic stop. The arrest was upheld.

    Call it the War on Little Brother. They want to watch us; but they do not want us watching them.

  2. Patrick says:

    The state you have in mind is Massachusetts Mike. If there is a state less free than Maryland, it's Massachusetts. As I understand it, Massachusetts doesn't even have an expectation-of-privacy requirement for recording of oral conversations.

    Fully agreed as to what they want.

  3. I hope he cleans these fuckers out.

  4. CTrees says:

    @Mike: if you read the article, you'd see that Patrick even cited the relevant case law for *that* specific state. Do Maryland and all states wish they had the restrictions Mass. does? Probably, but they don't (yet).

  5. Madrocketscientist says:

    Good thing Maryland is a Shall Issue state (and getting a concealed license is iffy at best). [end being facetious]

  6. Madrocketscientist says:

    I mean a May Issue state (Doh!)

  7. Mike says:

    @Mike: if you read the article, you’d see that Patrick even cited the relevant case law for *that* specific state

    *Wondering how I'll ever overcome the shame*

  8. Bob says:

    You can tell by those furtive glances that this cop knew he was "out-of-the-box" that contains reasonable behavior.

  9. Mindy Graber says:

    Anthony is my son. He was arrested yesterday and has spent the night in Towson. This entire ordeal is a nightmare to our family and especially our son. He is not a criminal. He was not robbing a bank, fleeing, or anything ridiculous like that. He is a young man, holds a top secret clearance, is in the ANG, has 2 children, in other words, a good law abiding citizen that is being wrongfully charged with a felony. The only reason he uploaded the video on YouTube is because I was appalled that he was treated the way he was treated (having a plain clothed officer in a POV (or unmarked car with NO LIGHTS OR SIRENS) with no badge in sight holding a gun out and not identifying him because he was speeding? Give me a break! I hope to God that this case is thrown out of court and he is expunged of all charges.

    Very proud Mom of Anthony Graber,

    Mindy

  10. Linus says:

    I am a guarded fan of federalism, but it's so interesting to me how in one state, a "reasonable man" would shoot another man who got out of his unmarked car, wearing everyday clothes, with a gun, and who began yelling at the reasonable man, and only a few miles away, in Maryland, the "reasonable man" would (apparently) simply magically know that the crazy-yelling-with-a-gun guy was a cop, who had only his best interests, and the best interests of the citizenry of Maryland, at heart.

    How's the weather in Maryland? Good enough to put up with a little tyranny? Where I'm at, it's pretty nice today (supposed to get up to 63 degrees).

  11. RLMullen says:

    How are these 'wiretap' laws going to hold up to the future? This case is essentially a glimpse of that future.

    One more round of miniaturization will allow wearable cameras, sans helmet, to become ubiquitous. Within the next five years every personal interaction will be subject to concealed video recording. That would include courtrooms as well.

    How is the legal system going to cope with a very near future where literally everything that every person sees and hears will be recorded and propagated globally?

  12. MadRocketScientist says:

    RLMullen:

    I own a pen. This pen can take 480×320 color video with sound and has a 4GB flash memory and USB port. The camera is near the top of the pen, so if I stick the pen in my shirt pocket, it records all in front of me. The on/off button is just a nub on top. It looks like a big pen, write OK too.

    I paid $50 for it.

    The next 5 years is now.

  13. RLMullen says:

    MadRocketScientist:

    We are on the same page! I'm thinking about five years from now when everyone will have multiple devices that have video capability as a standard feature – eyeglasses, jewelry, keys, etc. It will just make sense to have video capability at all times for safety reasons.

    If one was inclined to get serious about concealment, there will be contact lenses with video capability. The tech already exists to do this while transmitting the feed to a wireless receiver located somewhere else on the body.

    I agree that we are truly at the end of the "no cameras allowed" era. I'm just curious how long it will take for the legal system to catch up. I expect there to be at least one more attempt to clamp down with attempts to "modernize" the current laws. I then expect the populous to treat these laws with the same respect as speed limits.

  14. Base of the Pillar says:

    Worth noting that this story has been covered by neither the Baltimore Sun nor the Washington Post, the area's two major newspapers.

  15. Patrick says:

    We're getting a surprising amount of traffic out of the ether on this. Not from big blogs, but from Google and libertarian and/or motorcycling web forums. I'm honestly surprised this hasn't been picked up by any of the big libertarian blogs. It set my outrage knob to 11.

  16. Why the hell is it that we can't just make cops and state attorneys show us their dicks before hiring them?

    I mean seriously… you don't need to be Sigmund Freud to know that both the pig in the video and the pig prosecutor are suffering from short dick syndrome. Don't give guns, badges, or authority to men who have deep feelings of inadequacy, and you won't have problems like this.

  17. Tim Wiener says:

    Mr. Graber is a terrorist!! He certainly caused me terror when he whipped past me doing twice the posted speed limit!! and weaving in and out of traffic! He should be sent to Gitmo! He deserves everything that happened, and more!

  18. Jim says:

    Another point is that police officer's acting in an official manner (as the trooper did by drawing a weapon, and identifying himself as a trooper) is not afforded to privacy rights as a citizen would be granted.

    This is such a waste of tax payer money.

  19. Steven Di Pietro says:

    Tim, was the cause of your terror being cleanly passed by a motorcycle, or was it because you were paying more attention to a distraction in your cage? Something like your coffee, a newspaper, cell phone, hamburger, shaving, or putting on make up. If you really were paying attention to your driving,you would have seen what was approaching from behind you by using your mirrors.

    And to all of you cage occupants, when was the last day that YOU didn't speed? Would you like a gun pointed in your direction for speeding, or a small wheelie's equivalent, squealing your wheels?

  20. David says:

    I have no love for speeding bikes. They scare the ba-jesus out of me when they whiz by.
    No reason to pull a gun on them tho. Only reason this felony thing is happening is because the cop acted wrongly. Heck… very few times do I ever hear about them doing something right. So he was caught on camera acting like a fool. Officer straw hat has a hissy fit and calls in favours to teach Mr. Cycle a lesson. Geez! Like our state (MD) isn't poor enough. Waste a few more bucks at court and then get sued. We got some winners in our justice system.

    Finally, maybe the prosecutor ought to hire some expert testimony to analyze the video to be sure that is the troopers voice and not a dub in. It is THEIR burden to prove that the tape is authentic.

    I'd love to be on the jury of this one if it ever came to court. love it love it love it.

    So like… If we invest in the legal fund do you think we could work it out that we get a portion of the suit money that Mr. Graber will get? My money is not making more the 4% in this economy. This seems to be a sure money winner.

  21. Coyote says:

    "The people of Maryland need to know that the highway patrol is made up of dangerous cowboys who pull guns on non-violent citizens while wearing plain clothes before identifying themselves as officers. Graber should get a good citizenship award."

    No, it shows there is at least ONE dangerous cowboy in the MSP.

    And yes, Graber should receive an award,
    AND lose his drivers license,
    and that cop should lose his badge,
    and YOU should lose your blog.

    cop behavior like this is not only sucks for people like Graber who experience it, apparently it makes short-sighted individuals like yourself try to convince people the police forces are just FILLED with bad cops.

    Oh, we all make generalzations. Personally, I'm convinced the web is full of idiot bloggers, but I've read a lot more blogs than I have had run ins with cops.

  22. Ken says:

    Should Patrick lose his blog just for criticizing cops, Coyote, or is there a list of other government officials one musn't criticize in your world?

  23. Patrick says:

    Oh but the Maryland State Police fully supports this trooper's actions Coyote. They even arranged to have Graber charged with a felony, while vindicating the trooper. So it would seem that what the trooper did was standard operating procedure, in full compliance with departmental policy.

    Therefore, if one believes the trooper's actions were inappropriate, it is safe to say that the MSP is full of dangerous cowboys. This trooper, according to his supervisors, did the right thing.

    You may be right about the web being full of idiot bloggers. I wouldn't know, but I am fully convinced that one of the hazards of blogging is idiot commenters. I have run-ins with your sort more often than I'd like.

  24. De says:

    To Anthony's mother: Like it or not, your son was not " a law-abiding citizen" when speeding and popping wheelies on his bike in traffic. Typical that the initial reason he was confronted with is overlooked when there is another person to lay blame on. Your son is a felon. When you break a law, you are considered a felon. Do I sympathize with you and your son? Yes, to a degree, but the bottom line is, he broke the law, foolishly videotaped it and got caught on both accounts. And I'm willing to bet that if this does not get thrown out, he can kiss that security clearance goodbye. That's also excellent behavior for the father of 2 kids. How much more of a nightmare would it be if he had wrecked or hit someone and left those kids fatherless?

    All of the people, including the author, are stating that what the trooper did was over-the-top, excessive, etc. but if you take the time, you will notice that 1. his badge was displayed on his belt, not hidden under his shirt or in his pocket. 2. He never leveled the gun at Anthony. It is standard procedure to unholster their sidearm if they feel the person may run (which Anthony very well could have on that bike). 3. He re-holstered his weapon as soon as Anthony complied, which was about 5 seconds.

    The over-reaction to this is amazing. I learned about this on a car forum and it has turned into quite a debate over the trooper, Anthony's driving, the law that was broken, etc.. Best of luck to Anthony and his case.

  25. Patrick says:

    Your son is a felon. When you break a law, you are considered a felon.

    Really?

    How about, "When you are convicted by a properly instructed jury of your peers, convinced beyond reasonable doubt of the truth of all elements of a crime constituting a felony and the absence of any affirmative defenses, following a trial conducted without material error, after appellate review if necessary, you are a felon"?

    Reckless driving is not generally considered a felony, I'll note. The crime under discussion here, rather than your unnamed auto forum, is Maryland's wiretap law. It seems you've convicted Graber of felonious reckless driving in your own court, Judge De. But I'll assume you're not a Maryland judge. (Do correct me if I'm mistaken.)

    Will an actual court convict him of a wiretap felony? That remains to be seen.

  26. Patrick says:

    As for the badge on the belt, I have two points:

    1) The belt that officer is wearing is obscured by his sweatshirt. Did you see a different video?

    2) Even if the belt holds an unobscured badge (it doesn't), most people when confronted by an angry man wielding a gun see one thing: GUN. Little details like a piece of metal attached to a belt fall by the wayside.

  27. Disgusted American says:

    DE …. Im LMFAO @ you, he didnt holster after Anthony complied … he hid his weapon behind him when he saw the other marked cop pull up … then he stepped over to where Anthony was blocking the view of the other cop and he quickly holstered his weapon … in an attempt to hide his stupid mistake from the other cop. I could care less if his badge was on his belt or not ….. I dont make it a habit of staring at peoples belts … especially when they are charging towards me with a gun in thier hand (and not yelling "POLICE OFFICER")! Anthony may have been speeding, but when he passed the unmarked cop (probably off duty), he wasnt going that fast and he didnt pop any wheelies after passing him … so the cop had no idea of his previous behavior. He should have exited the vehicle with his BADGE in his hand saying "Police Officer, shut off the bike" ….. not exiting the car with his gun drawn and saying "turn off the bike". Looks to me like he is a power hungry ***** … and I hope Anthony sues the h3ll out of him and the department when this is over … cause any reasonable jury of peers would award him a ton of cash …. and thats evident by the reaction of every website Ive read this story on!

    I am truly sorry for Anthony and I wish him the best of luck …. but Im glad it wasnt me in that video. If it had been, Id be on trial for shooting that ignorant cop. I have a CCW and in the extreme amount of time it took him to notify that he was a "cop" I would have drawn my weapon and immediately started firing. Because I would have thought that this was a crack head planning to shoot me and steal my bike.

    As far as Anthony being a Felon … its not a Felony to speed and pop wheelies …. and as far as the video with sound being a Felony … well it sounds to me like the people of Maryland need to step up, change some of thier elected officials and get some laws changed to protect themselves from some of the insane (ignorant) police they have … as well as the crooked Judges. Any normal Judge would have reviewed the video before issues a warrant … and after viewing the video he should have slapped the cop and told him he better hope the kid doesnt SUE! Them raiding the house was overkill and simply a scare tactic.

  28. Allen Allgood says:

    Mindy – I understand your protective feelings toward your son, but he sure wasn't "abiding" the law in the video. He was doing something dangerous (dangerous to others and to himself), and he ought to be ashamed (especially as a young father). Did the police officer overreact? It sure looks like it – and if the events happened as they appear to have happened in the video, the cop should be disciplined. Carrying a gun and a badge is a great responsibility, and where officers fail to live up to that responsibility, or exercise good judgment in using them, there ought to be consequences.

    Considering the sequence of events and the flimsiness of the wiretap charge filed against your son, it sure looks like the state police and state's attorney are retaliating for his posting the video on Youtube (and that retaliation suggests they might be a little embarrassed by the officer's behavior). The reckless driving charges may also be retaliatory, too, but unliek the wiretap charge, it looks like there might be a real basis for reckless driving.

    The fact that your son was ignoring the law for fun doesn't excuse police and prosecutors from obeying the law – their actions are deplorable, and hopefully their misconduct will be corrected by the courts. But let's not let the authorities' misbehavior obscure the fact that your son's hands aren't clean in all this. I hope that while you're dutifully supporting him during this difficult time, you'll also encourage him not to drive like that. You're his mom – maybe he'll listen to you.

  29. Marcus says:

    I don't think anyone is complaining about the reckless driving charges here.

    The way the cop (and later, the department and attorney general) handled the situation is being rightfully questioned.

  30. Base of the Pillar says:

    A week later and still nothing in the local news.

    This is the way print media ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.

  31. Paul says:

    Just watched the full video.

    Seems our little "law abiding citizen" didn't pull up to an unmarked car. Seems he was being CHASED by an unmarked and a marked car. I have a feeling he was asked why he was running or didn't stop.

    Also, the officer in the marked car was there at the same time as the unmarked officer. If it was so obvious that he was being car-jacked or road rage then the marked officer would have probably pulled his gun as well.

    Stop trying to smear the officers of this state because you think you were wronged. This idiot broke every law that is in question and is going to get what he deserves.

  32. Patrick says:

    Ltr n00b.

  33. Rick H. says:

    "Remember, folks: police officers are nature's perfect miracle. Rainbows shoot from their hindquarters after a baked bean banquet. Their every action, without exception, is an example of judicious, sanctified transcendence so pure in its beauty that the angels themselves are overcome with emotion and weep torrential tears of ecstatic joy.

    "They should never be questioned. Just as you – not being a trained gourmet chef – are unable to tell rotten eggs from fresh ones, so too are you, the civilian, simply incapable of determining whether a police officer's actions are justified or not.

    "Nay! We must ensure that police officers are always held apart from the common riff-raff. They should not be burdened by our silly laws or troublesome regulations, nor by our primitive notions of ethics and civility. They are truly the master race, and it is our duty to bow down to their infallibility."

  34. Base of the Pillar says:

    Paul, if he was running from the cops, don't you think they would have charged him accordingly? Or do you think that they were just being nice to the daredevil until he uploaded this video?

  35. SimonSaysDie says:

    Thanks Pillar for bringing that little tid-bit up so I didn't need to.

    @Paul, "Seems our little “law abiding citizen” didn’t pull up to an unmarked car. Seems he was being CHASED by an unmarked and a marked car." Really, How do you know when the marked car joined the fun? How do you know they were EVER in pursuit with their lights and sirens on? Where you watching a different video than I was? If, as you comment, the marked car was there "at the same time as the unmarked" then why didn't Captain Courage just let the uniforms handle the situation?

    @De, No one is overlooking the reason he was stopped. The fact that he deserved to be pulled over in no way means that the officer was justified in his handling of the situation. Graber has himself admitted that he was wrong for the way he was driving; in other words he hasn't tried to get out of taking responsibility for his poor driving choices. That's why people aren't dwelling on it. "The Man", however, is attempting to cover up his inappropriate handling of the situation by "wagging the dog." Like I said to Paul above, were we watching different videos? The officer MIGHT have had a badge on his belt, but if he did, it was FAR from obvious and in no way prominently displayed. I would also bet that I can count myself with most people in saying that if someone gets out of their car with a gun, I'm looking at the gun in their hand not their waste line. If (and I'm playing Devil's advocate a little) he truly felt threatened enough to pull his gun upon exiting his car, the gun should've been in one hand, his badge in the other and the first words out of his mouth should have been to identify himself as a police officer.

    @All of those who say Graber should lose his license, no he shouldn't. He deserves the same punishment that anyone else would receive for the same offense, whether it's just ticketing, losing his license, attending driving school or any combination that is normally considered appropriate or customary. And according to what I understand he had been given the punishment they felt appropriate, until the PD found themselves embarrassed by the actions of one of their own. The they decided he needed to be punished more.

    Though I freely admit that it's just my opinion, I will say that even the first time I watched the video, it looked to me like the officer was concealing his weapon from the arriving marked car. I think once he started coming down from his adrenaline fueled over-reaction, he started realizing that he might have screwed the pooch and was trying to switch gears into career preservation mode.

    For the record, I'm not a cop hater and I know there are many good and decent LEO's out there, but I'll be the first to admit that I hold cops to higher standard and believe they MUST be accountable for their actions. Because of the position we allow them to have over us, they cannot, even for one second, abuse the public trust by acting like thugs and I will never cut a cop any slack in that respect. JMO.

  36. Stockholm Sam says:

    While I am against police-state tactics and the loss of individual liberties, I believe this jack-ass on the motorcycle needs to spend some time in jail. I hope his top secret security clearance gets revoked. His parents claim he is not a criminal. I say he is. He rode his motorcycle 100 mph on a public road, popping wheelies, endangering many other people's lives, which is a clear violation of the law. Try explaining to someone who has lost a loved one in an automobile accident due to someone else's negligence that this is a minor offense. When I saw his face, I realized this guy is much older than I expected. He behaved like a 16-year-old with his first car, not a mature adult. He needs to grow up and accept that he put himself in this situation by acting without a care for anyone else. The cop may have screwed up, but he was put in a situation where he had to make a decision based on many unknown factors in order to protect the public from this idiot. He had no way of knowing if the guy was dangerous or not and he may have acted out of line, but Graber started it all. He should pay a price.

  37. eastcoast6 says:

    And law enforcement wonders why their public image is shite. Repeatedly over-exerting their authority is a sure way not to win admiration. Duh.

  38. Mary Mallon says:

    Be glad it wasn't recording an elected, public official on a public beach as in the case of Judge Wennet in West Palm Beach, Florida. He had his ex-girlfriend thrown in jail for the same thing and after facing 3 felonies, 15 years in prison and 83 days after her bail was denied and she remained in jail, finally was forced to take a plea just to get out. So, in Florida, you can't take Judges in public either.

    http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/palm-beach-post/mi_8163/is_20070803/woman-faces-felonies-video-judge/ai_n51963436/

  39. Steven Di Pietro says:

    According to Mr Graber's Facebook pages, the ACLU has adopted his defense case.

  40. Lizabet says:

    Anyone who thinks the trooper acted inappropriately must not have family members in law enforcement. What would you think if, while you were driving down 95, you saw someone on a motorcycle fly past you doing 30 MPH over the speed limit with complete and utter disregard for his own safety or that of those around him (the fact that he has small children at home, which was so proudly pointed out, makes it even more appalling)? Would you think that driver may be dangerous, drunk, high, or otherwise be out to hurt someone or himself? Now think about being the person in charge of stopping the driver before he kills himself or worse. I am proud to have Maryland State Troopers in my family and yes, it is permissible for a law enforcement officer to draw his sidearm if he thinks his life may be in danger. I don't think it was unreasonable for the trooper, plain-clothed or not, to think that the driver of the motorcycle could try to attack him, perhaps with a firearm of his own, or could run into traffic (further endangering other people on the road) or force a chase on foot, which is extremely dangerous for law enforcement. Anthony Graber is a CRIMINAL who knowingly endangered the lives of others and seems to be grossly proud of it! Ignorance of the wiretapping law does not excuse his behavior. Give him the full 12 points for committing a felony involving use of a vehicle and revoke his license. I certainly don't want to be on the road with him.

  41. Steven Di Pietro says:

    Mr. Graber has publicly admitted to his guilt when it comes to the speeding and the little wheelies. The officers actions while over baring were justified. The real issue is, here in Maryland they're using an old wiretapping law in order to make it illegal to videotape officers in action. When a Gov't agency operates under the cover of darkness, well that's a huge step twards tyranny.

  42. SimonSaysDie says:

    Do you "burn him at the stake" people truly believe someone should be shot for traffic violations? Since when did traffic violations qualify someone for Public Enemy #1. Geez people, get out of your glass houses and off of your high horses. If this guy had recorded that same cop pulling a mother and a baby from a burning car I would bet my @#$ that he wouldn't be up on any WT charges at all. The recording would have been plastered on every news station as "shocking video shot by stunned motorist shows brave police officer selflessly saving mother and baby." The fact is that the video (and audio) was not flattering and the cop was embarrassed by the it, his PD was embarrassed by the it and now they have to teach people what happens when you show "The Man" not acting his best. Even with that said, what bothered me as much as the gun was the fact that it took him so long to even attempt to identify himself as Five-O; those should have been the first words out of his mouth. Sure, Graber could have been a lot of things, but he could have also been on his way to a hospital or other emergency. And for your statement about being "grossly proud of it"; post a link to anything that indicates that. BTW that stop did fall under the criteria for a felony stop and if your LEO family members think that it did then they need to be "re-educated" or they don't deserve to be police officers. Or do you feel that since ANY stop could potentially turn bad then EVERY stop should be a felony stop and should be conducted at gun point?

  43. annonymous says:

    For over 40 years cops have been weakening this country ever since the "911" system came into effect. Everything is 911 or "9/11" these days, it seems to be an agenda to destroy America. From research, it seems the 911 system was put into effect to weaken America. It was setup in 1967, and people were told it was something "they needed".

  44. Steven Di Pietro says:

    This just in…..

    BALTIMORE, MD – Troubled by the Maryland State Police’s abusive use of state wiretap laws to prosecute a motorcyclist who posted a YouTube video of an MSP trooper making a traffic stop with his gun drawn, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland is providing legal counsel to ensure that First Amendment principles are protected and that citizens are able to hold law enforcement officials accountable through legitimate use of cameras and audio recorders……….

    There's more at the link.

    http://www.aclu-md.org/aPress/Press2010/052810_Motorcyclist.html

  45. Ed says:

    Did anyone stop to think that it was Graber's plan to post this video from the start? That he was wearing that camera and hot dogging so he could post a "look at me-I'm speed racer" video on youtube.

    Perhaps the wiretapping charge was to gain access to other videos of him being a law abiding citizen.

  46. Prashanth says:

    A bad behaviour by the police. If it was me speeding and that plainclothesman had seen my brown skin colour, probably would have shot me on suspicion grounds of me being a terrorist. Thank god i dont live in USA, so called the land of liberty.

  47. Anonymous says:

    As a photographer, this scares the hell out of me, this is simply insanity. The funny thing is that the cops are taping people without consent every time they pull someone over. (There's a camera on the dash of every police officers car) Plus since the police officer pulled him over in public, the police officer didn't have a reasonable expectation of privacy. It sounds like they thought long and hard over at the bacon station, and came up with using the wiretapping law as an excuse to nab the guy. I had a police officer tell me that I was in the right to be photographing an accident scene but if I didn't go home she would arrest me for disturbing the peace, (it was just me, the police officer, and a paramedic) Also when did it become illegal to show the public what kind of person we've hired with our tax dollars?

  48. Jeff says:

    Stockholm Sam said, "His parents claim he is not a criminal. I say he is. … 100 mph … wheelies, endangering many other people’s lives … Try explaining to someone who has lost a loved one in an automobile accident due to someone else’s negligence that this is a minor offense."

    I've seen earlier portions of the tape. He rode in an illegal manner. However, anyone who spouts off about how reckless he was for riding fast on a clear day, and executing a wheelie past a *bus*, needs a serious lesson in physics. Why don't you calculate out the momentum carried by his speeding motorcycle and see how that plays out against a bus *traveling in the same direction*. Hell, do the same calculation against an SUV. Or a passenger car loaded with airbags.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that none Stockholm Sam's friends who were hurt by other drivers' negligence were, in fact, injured by a motorcycle…

    One man's behavior here deserves a ticket and some driver's school. The other deserves dismissal, or at least suspension without pay.

  49. Patrick says:

    The concern about reckless motorcyclists, Jeff, is that they cause drivers of heavier vehicles to take evasive action. A bus driver swerving to avoid a Graber is putting dozens of lives, including his own, at risk.

    None of that justifies charging Graber with a felony, because no one was hurt. None of that justifies pulling a gun on the man, because he wasn't violent and didn't pose a threat to anyone once stopped. None of that justifies a wiretapping charge, a misuse of a badly drafted law.

    Graber's a fool, but this is much bigger than Graber. This isn't a story about reckless driving. It's a story about Big Brother.

  50. Dennis says:

    Americans are hopeless sheep. Education levels have plummeted, with vigorous help of gov't and media, so that American public is a bunch of overworked, government abused, scared little shits. Get in line and shut up!

  51. Nick says:

    So, if I put a notice on my car windows stating clearly the surveillance equipment is being used would this put a wrinkle in recording police activity within view of my car? I ask because apparently surveillance equipment used for security seem to be routinely used by police. If it does put a wrinkle in things, perhaps Anthony Graber should put such a notice on his helmet — just to inform the police.

    Personally from watching the video I would think Mr Graber would have been well within his rights to defend himself against this armed man (I see no indication that this is a police officer and anyone can say the words, "state police" — there was no identification, just a gun, aggression, and the words "state police" — I also think the officer noted this to himself as he relaxes, I think he knew he acted dangerously). I don't think the office is probably a "bad cop" — he acted stupidly, rashly, dangerously, but probably ultimately not horribly wrong (no one was hurt). I don't see why the police should care if they are taped — will we catch them at mistakes — yes, because they make them, just as we do sometimes when we get pulled over for acting a little reckless on a bike.

    That officer acted dangerously, just as the biker did. Both should get a stern talking to and maybe a fine. This escalation is petty and a judge should make it clear to the district attorney that "being petty" is not worth wasting the courts time.

  52. Joe Piervincenti says:

    Is it a reasonable expectation and usual for a police officer to expect that he will be recorded and videotaped when making a stop on the road? Is this something that all motorists do when they are stopped by police while driving?

    To quote the above:
    The definition of “oral communication” under Maryland’s wiretap law requires that the conversation be “private,” which is to say that it must be one in which the party being recorded has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

    Does that mean "behind closed doors?" Is the conversation between the officer and the motorist public? Is the public privy to what is being said, permitted, expected, invited to participate? Is any member of the public "usually" a part of a proceeding such as this or is it between the officer and motorist implying and characterized as a transaction of "two" and "private?"

    Ergo, is the transaction between the officer making the stop and the motorist being stopped considered a public or private event? In my sixty years and over thirty as a professional driver, I have never seen, been made aware of, or have observed that a roadside stop was public in the sense that an outsider, an individual not a party to the transaction, was invited, or belonged to, this transaction. However, and further, if one is a witness, they are invited to make a statement, testify, under oath, in a court of law. If one seeks to impose lawfulness, one must be lawful in all respects. One cannot draw on hostile incidents from history and extrapolate that because those incidents once occurred that all police roadside stops are unlawful.

    Video taping protects everyone. If people, all people, could be relied on to be truthful we would not have cameras, but society cannot rely on the honesty of people, all people. Video tape convicts as well as acquits. Publicized video prior to adjudication and due process in a court of law taints the case, skews and biases jury perceptions and thwarts the judicial process.

  53. Joe Piervincenti says:

    In addition, in the first few moments of the video tape, the biker was moving backward and in motion. Also, the end of the clip shows clearly a trooper or patrol car and officer behind the biker. Clearly he was pursued and knew that police were behind him. It is reasonable to assume that even though it was an unmarked car cutting him off, he was being pursued by the patrol car and an unmarked car is not anything of any surprise. Quite frankly, going on the road that day with a running video camera recording video and sound, is very, very suspect as to motive.

    This is such a skewed and tainted commentary and video about an injustice being done. Why was the stop made anyway? Will we ever seen the truth in a clear manner in this case? Make sure no one with a brain gets selected for the jury here. It'll be a guilty verdict for sure.

  54. JFuller says:

    Everyone needs to see the video in its entirety. All you get from this clip is a plain clothed officer getting out of his unmarked car, and yes weapon drawn. Im sure there was good reason to pull the motorcycle driver over. Im sure they wouldnt show the driver weaving in and out of traffic, or riding wheelies or speeding over 100mph. Im not accusing Anthony of any of this but Ive experienced plenty, not all, crotch rocket type drivers driving irresponsibly. I myself was almost hit by one on 95s several years ago because he was riding a wheelie and switching lanes and had switched into my lane AFTER I had checked to make sure it was clear for me to change lanes. As an officer of the law, they see the unbelievable EVERYDAY and unless you are in their shoes you dont know what you would do. They put themselves in harms way everyday. As far as the remark in this article "If Graber had been carrying a gun, both men might be dead" could be the very reason the officer got out of his vehicle, weapon drawn. He needs to protect the safety of the people on the road as well as himself. Ask officers Romans and officer Moore both who were shot earlier this year by a suspect they had pulled over and pulled a gun on them and opened fire. Thankfully that suspect is now off the street and Im not comparing Anthony to this violent suspect. Im only putting a single situation out there that our officers deal with everyday all day long. Hatred towards Officers of the law is bred into alot of people now. Im open to any and all coments so please feel free to open up.

  55. Patrick says:

    I have decided that some policeman's union, today, sent out a memorandum to its members, or its staff, directing them to find blog posts on topics recently addressed by Radley Balko, and to post comments to the effect of "Mustn't second guess the policeman! The policeman has a hard job! What would you do in his place?"

    I could give a damn about the policeman. The sewer worker has a dirty job too, one in many ways more dangerous, and one which doesn't demand much more in the way of qualification than a beat cop or patrolman. But the sewer worker doesn't have a legion of sycophantic serfs trolling the internet to extol his wonders.

  56. Mike Hawke says:

    "Reasonable expectation of privacy" seems to be the key, legally, here. In today's age of ever increasing video surveillance by public and private institutions, and anybody with a cell phone, I don't see how it's "reasonable" to expect actions taken on the side of a public road to be private. As a matter of fact, that would be completely unreasonable for anyone who's lived in any western country for the past decade or so.

    You might wish things were more private, but it's unreasonable to "expect" it.

  57. Pete says:

    According to articles I've been reading, Graber could face as much as 16 years by the time prosecutors are done with him.

  58. Eric says:

    Time to start avoiding ANY and ALL activities in MD. If the police are going around drawing their guns when there is no threat or danger to them and that is going to be allowed by MD State attorneys, then I do not want to get shot for going to the beaches or having dinner.

    Perhaps MD needs to change their state logo to Come to MD tourist can come in but it is a felony to drive.

    Standing on the side of a Major highway is not a private conversation. If it is, then I should be allowed to say Hi Jack in an airport to a stranger because it would also be a private conversation per the same logic that I see here.

    Nice double standards. Glad I do not pay MD tax dollars, I would hate it if my money went to idiots like that and worse State Attorneys who feel making bogus charges is in the best interest of the public. The officer made a bad judgement and now the state attorney is going to make this even worse. Look forward to seeing this on CNN and world news.

  59. Leo Balla says:

    Yet another one sided article. I like author failed to mention how many laws the driver of the motorcycle broke. I also like how he failed to do any research beyond the tape and what he read in the news paper. Bottom line the douche on the bike broke the law and was dumb enough to record it and show the world, thanks for the evidence. Beyond that he was pissed because his attempt to run from the police failed so he posted it on youtube in an attempt to "embarrass" the police, who were doing exactly as they were trained to do. The DA responded by saying' "Fine you wanna play hard ball, no problem" and filed every charge he could against the guy. Had the dipshit biker not posted the vid he would have never even been charged for half the things he is now being charged for.

  60. Keith says:

    Anyone who sees this video should be horribly offended. To "Leo Balla" you are entitled to what you think, but we hold our police and prosecutors to a very high standard, (which is why in most cases prosecutors enjoy immunity from liability, and peace officers enjoy "qualified immunity") in this case their actions bespeak the contempt they themselfs have for our criminal justice system as the application of the law was a response calculated for revenge (BY YOUR OWN RECKONING) and not a equal and justified application of the law.

  61. Mindy Graber says:

    Again, this isn’t a story about reckless driving. It’s a story about Big Brother.
    Mindy Graber – proud mom of Anthony Graber

  62. boneleg says:

    This is abuse of the law, plain and simple.. So next time I see someone making a video I will walk up and talk to them. Then they can no longer use that video because they wiretapped me. Is everyone in Maryland stupid or just the law enforcement? I guess we will find out. Police officers are some of the dumbest people you will ever meet. Police should be required to obtain a minimum 6 year degree in law and should be paid much more to compensate. Instead they have 3 years of high school experience and some BS police academy and get paid crap to risk their lives. This is why they are almost all corrupt. This officer should spend 5 years in prison to see what its like to play with peoples lives.

  63. 1bad540i says:

    ………so when a plainly dressed person charges me with a gun and WITHOUT ANY VISIBLE LAW ENFORCEMENT IDENTIFICATION how am I to know that they are not trying to vehicle-jack me….. sorry but if that was me I would have pulled my sidearm and a bad situation would have developed.

    The officer was wrong.

    You don't pull guns for traffic violations just as you don't issue a summary ticket to a cold blooded murderer.

  64. Steven Di Pietro says:

    Fox 45 News on 7-29-10, has reported that the Maryland's States Atty, has released publicly his letter to the Howard County States Atty stating it should be legal in MD to record Police activities, as it is a Public Moment and not a private one. I also believe that the letter contains instructions to drop the wiretapping charges against Mr. Graber

  65. Patrick says:

    Assuming that's true it's good to know Steven. Do you have a link?

  66. Patrick says:

    Thanks Steve!

  67. Steven Di Pietro says:

    Mr. Anthony Graber was kind enough to find my a pdf copy of the Letter from the Maryland State's Atty Office to the Harford County State's atty. That is located here…

    http://www.oag.state.md.us/Topics/WIRETAP_ACT_ROSENBERG.pdf

  68. Patrick says:

    Thanks again Steve. I'll note that there are no instructions to drop the charge, nor (I believe) can the AG instruct a county's attorney to drop the charge.

    Of course I find the opinion sound, but we framed this as a trumped-up vindictive prosecution three months ago, because that's what it is. Graber isn't being prosecuted for wiretapping. He's being prosecuted for showing the world that the Maryland State Police employs dangerous, reckless cops.

  69. Steven Di Pietro says:

    Patric, I totally agree with you there. Especially now that I was able to read that letter in it's entirety.

  70. Driver says:

    A "reckless jerk"? Whatever. It seems to me that absolutely no one was endangered, including those snoozing in the left lane, until the real jerk pulled the gun.

  71. Pieter says:

    I'm from the Netherlands. Guns are a rare site in my country for the simple reason, that is not legal without a permit and it is really hard to get a permit.
    The legal purchase of a gun takes years.

    There are only 2 kinds of people who wear guns: criminals (they of course don't have a permit) and policemen.

    An officer of the law who pulls out his gun for such a stupid reason as speeding, would probably be fired on the spot. A cop can only pull out his gun, when there is a clear and imminent danger. There was no such a thing in this case.

  72. Scott says:

    You hit the nail right on the head with your article Patrick. Anthony Graber is a reckless jerk. Joseph Cassilly, the State’s Attorney of Harford County Maryland is abusing the letter of the law to protect his own. Although the wire tapping charge against Mr. Graber may eventually be dismissed, law enforcement already has their victory in terms of the indictment and search and removal of property from Mr. Grabers' home. In regards to the reckless driving, Mr. Graber should be prosecuted accordingly. In regards to the wire tapping indictment and search warrant for such, it is Mr. Cassily and law enforcement who should be asked to defend their actions, not Mr. Graber.

  73. steve Sr says:

    Hello All,

    This dosent surprize me a bit.Harford county cops play judge and jury.I personly know a few that can look at a situation and determine whats right wrong and are good cops.From what im seeing latly the cops can and will charge me,you your mom ,brother and sister for what ever they want,for you to spend your hard earned money to proof them wrong.So do whats right and fire this bum!! you should be ashamed for this behaview. While your at it fire the harford county cop that beat up the baltimore prositute,we dont care what kind of metals he has!! hes a cop!! hiring hookers for other harford county cops!!!Fire all these bums!!! Yes its true go to the paper Dagger they tell it all.

    Sincerly,
    Steve

  74. Base of the Pillar says:

    Case disssssmiiissssedddd!

    "Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public," the judge wrote. "When we exercise that power in public fora, we should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation."

  75. 1bad540i says:

    Awesome news. Thanks for the update. This one had slipped my mind!

  1. August 2, 2010

    […] (and the multitude of comments) covered this back in April, with an in-depth analysis. I won't repeat it here, but I'll give […]

  2. June 2, 2011

    […] one example case, motorcyclist Anthony John Graber III was stopped for reckless driving. A plain-clothes police officer stopped him, jumped out of his car waving a gun and screaming, and […]

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    […] PopeHatPost-Gazette Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]