Massachusetts Man Charged Criminally For Videotaping Cop… Despite Earlier Lawsuit Rejecting Such Claims

from the this-won't-end-well dept

You may remember a high-profile, landmark ruling last year in Massachusetts, where charges against Simon Glik — arrested for violating a state law that said it’s “wiretapping” to record a police officer in public without his permission — weren’t just dropped, but the arrest was found to be both a First and Fourth Amendment violation. In the end, Boston was forced to pay Glik $170,000 for violating his civil rights.

You would think that story would spread across Massachusetts pretty quickly and law enforcement officials and local district attorneys would recognize that filing similar charges would be a certified bad idea. Not so, apparently, in the town of Shrewsbury. Irving J. Espinosa-Rodrigue was apparently arrested and charged under the very same statute after having a passenger in his car videotape a traffic stop for speeding, and then posting the video on YouTube. Once again, the “issue” is that Massachusetts is a “two-party consent” state, whereby an audio recording can’t be done without first notifying the person being recorded, or its deemed a “wiretap.” This interpretation, especially when dealing with cops in public, is flat-out ridiculous and unconstitutional, as the Glik ruling showed.

It’s somewhat amazing that no one pointed out to the folks in Shrewsbury how this might play out, but given the Glik ruling, Shrewsbury officials might want to start putting away some cash to pay Espinosa-Rodrigue…

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Comments on “Massachusetts Man Charged Criminally For Videotaping Cop… Despite Earlier Lawsuit Rejecting Such Claims”

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34 Comments
tqk says:

Re: Re: Re:

i see money in this mans future. and no new boots for the police department.

And the Massachusetts Tax payers picking up the bill.

Every time I see this “Oh, the poor taxpayers!” argument trotted out, it makes me think that those poor taxpayers ought to have expended a bit more effort deciding who to put in charge. DAs and judges are elected there, yes?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Finaly sentence needs a slight change

‘It’s somewhat amazing that no one pointed out to the folks in Shrewsbury how this might play out, but given the Glik ruling, Shrewsbury residents might want to start putting away some cash to pay Espinosa-Rodrigue…’

Given that any fine that results will come out of the police budget, which is paid for via taxes, the police themselves won’t be paying a dime, it’s the residents that are getting hosed here.

This also explains why the police in many states continue to not care about rulings forbidding actions like this, it’s not like they are getting punished at all or have to pay the reparations.

Now, if you started taking the money out of the pensions/pay of the officers involved… then they might start to care.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Finaly sentence needs a slight change

Of course the police union will step in to protect the officer from any baseless accusations. After all, they are the thin blue line, protectors against the criminal element. If officers are held accountable for their actions how will they be able to recruit young men and women willing to abuse their athority and trample over the citizens rights?

Anonymous Coward says:

Ridiculous Indeed

“This interpretation, especially when dealing with cops in public, is flat-out ridiculous and unconstitutional, as the Glik ruling showed.”

It’s ridiculous when dealing with cops or anybody else in public, especially when one of the parties concerned is aware of the recording. It’s also ridiculous when none of the parties know about the recording, provided there’s otherwise no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Why wasn’t the passenger arrested, since she was the one doing the videotaping?

From the Shrewsbury Daily Voice story:

The beginning of the video showed Espinosa-Rodrigue allegedly instructing the female passenger how to use the recording device.

I can think of a theory under which it would be proper to charge Espinosa-Rodrigue for the act, but I really want to see the charging papers rather than publicly speculating on the prosecution’s theory.

Thomas (profile) says:

Cops firmly believe..

that they are above the law. They talk big about “if you haven’t done anything you have nothing to worry about”. but when the tables are turned they don’t agree.

Even the cops in Boston still go after people who dare to film them, despite the huge lawsuit loss.

I would not dare to point a videocamera or phone at a cop – I want to stay out of jail and don’t want to be thrown down, beaten, and tased.

Trusting a cop is like trusting a politician.

gorehound (profile) says:

Re: Cops firmly believe..

I am from Lynn, Mass and I am not afraid of Boston Cops.Yeah they are big and they are tough but that never stopped us guys from doing the things we wanted to when we wanted to.
I would film them.I did time before and Jail is not a scary place for me.Would be scary for a lot of others.
Film the Cops.Do it and let them take away your Camera, ETC as you will be able to Sue them for a lot of Cash.If your Lawyer is your friend you will actually see a bunch of it.
Even if you don’t it will still be good to be one of those who sued and won and helped in the End to stop the Cops from their illegal behavior.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re: Cops firmly believe..

It doesn’t matter if you sue them because it’s all at the taxpayer’s expense, not the police. And although you’d think a precedent was set previously with Simon Glik having won his case, that still hasn’t stopped the police from arresting Irving J. Espinosa-Rodrigue for the exact same thing. They’re violating people’s Constitutional rights and they don’t care. This is a clear-cut case of abuse of authority.

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