In early March, Anthony Graber, a 25-year-old staff sergeant for the Maryland Air National Guard, was humming a tune while riding his two-year-old Honda motorcycle down Interstate 95, not far from his home north of Baltimore. On top of his helmet was a camera he often used to record his journeys. The camera was rolling when an unmarked gray sedan cut him off as he stopped behind several other cars along Exit 80. ...Here is the Maryland wiretap law:
A week later, on March 10, Graber posted his video of the encounter on YouTube. What followed wasn't a furor over the police officer's behavior but over Graber's use of a camera to capture the entire episode.
On April 8, Graber was awakened by six officers raiding his parents' home in Abingdon, Md., where he lived with his wife and two young children. He learned later that prosecutors had obtained a grand jury indictment alleging he had violated state wiretap laws by recording the trooper without his consent.
§ 10-402.The law is critisized here and elsewhere.
(a) Except as otherwise specifically provided in this subtitle it is unlawful for any person to:
(1) Wilfully intercept, endeavor to intercept, or procure any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication;
(2) Wilfully disclose, or endeavor to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, oral, or electronic communication in violation of this subtitle; or ...
It should be obvious that this is a wiretap law, and someone wearing a video camera on his head is not doing an "intercept". He is also not "wilfully" violating the law.
It also should be unambiguously legal to videorecord a cop making an arrest or issuing a citation in a public. Posting the recording on YouTube ought to be a free speech right. Many cops now have their own videorecorder to document their actions, including all Maryland state troopers. This motorcyclist has a legitimate complaint against Maryland police procedure, and the only way that he can make his point is to post the video.