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NH Man Arrested for Videotaping Police 1232

Posted by Zonk
from the hold-still-for-your-interrogation dept.
macinrack writes to mention a story about a New Hampshire man who was arrested for videotaping police on his doorstep, using a fairly standard security camera system. He was officially charged with 'two felony counts of violating state eavesdropping and wiretap law by using an electronic device.' From the article: "The security cameras record sound and audio directly to a videocassette recorder inside the house, and the Gannons posted warnings about the system, Janet Gannon said. On Tuesday night, Michael Gannon brought a videocassette to the police department, and asked to speak with someone in 'public relations,' his wife said and police reported. Gannon wanted to lodge a complaint against Karlis, who had come to the family's house while investigating their sons, Janet Gannon said. She said Karlis showed up late at night, was rude, and refused to leave when they asked him."
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NH Man Arrested for Videotaping Police

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  • sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:30PM (#15630324)
    And they wonder why people don't respect the police...
    • Re:sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by letxa2000 (215841) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:54PM (#15630634)
      Not defending the charges in this case (which do seem 100% bogus), but I have found that if you respect the police, they will respect you. If you treat the cops like assholes, they'll probably do the same to you. Now arguably it shouldn't be that way since the cops should be expected to behave professionaly even if the citizen doesn't. The reality, though, is that police are people too and just like we probably would not react perfectly to someone treating us with disresect on the job, police probably don't either. Treating others how you want to be treated is a good way to live life and usually brings the exact results you're looking for.


      Now something definitely seems wrong with this police department since the charges are nonsense and it seems like, at that point, they are harassing the citizen. But they do mention the guy's kid is being investigated for some crimes, the guy hasn't been cooperative in the past, and has been verbally abusive. And my completely inappropriate "judge a book by its cover" sensors tell me that by looking at the guy's picture in the article, he rather looks like an uncooperative, verbally abusive redneck. So I suspect that while these charges against him are completely wrong and inappropriate, I get the distinct feeling this isn't some average Joe that's being randomly victimized for no reason by the police. I think there's more to the story here than we know.

      • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by aplusjimages (939458) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:16PM (#15630934) Journal
        At my work if the client treats me like an asshole, I get fired if I return the favor. You think cops would be held to the same standard. A 16 year old at McDonald has to follow that rule as well.
        • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by binary paladin (684759) <binarypaladin.gmail@com> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:05PM (#15631546)
          Dead on. Dead on.

          The problem is that in our society we have arbitrarily elevated cops to the status of "real" heroes because they "risk their lives everyday for the 'safety' of the community." A few months ago a metro officer was killed in the line of duty and there was this huge procession and they made a big deal about it.

          What no one bothered to mention is that it had been nearly 15 years since a metro cop had been killed. More people are killed/maimed/whatever working on construction sites here. Way more. The fact is that we've put these servants, and that's what they are, on a pedestal when it's a job they should serve with humility and compassion for their community.

          For everyone one "real" criminal they haul in I wonder how many nothing-but-revenue tickets they pass out? There's nothing "heroic" or "honorable" about hiding your car in a poorly marked 25 zone that some jackass decided should take up a block in the middle of 45s and ticket people there. Which is another problem. Popular media shows cops fighting dangerous "real" criminals most of the time. Even the show Cops doesn't show some guy sitting in a car, "This is Unit 328, hiding here at the bottom of a hill where people generally go faster than normal. We've made over $3,000 on tickets today and we've still got a few hours to go. One day and I've almost made my entire week's quota."

          And EVERY cop is dirty. Every single one of them. Either by their actions or their omissions. Ask ANY cop whether or not he/she knows a dirty cop. They'll say yes. After that, ask that person what he/she has done about said dirty cop. Nothing. A big fat nothing. And what's worse is when SOMETHING does happen they always get some ridiculous slap on the wrist. If I worked for a company that got sued for $50,000 and LOST on account of something I did, I'd be gone. I'd be fired. Not here. They get a week of PAID suspension and they're back on the street supposedly learning their lesson.

          THey've become an elevated class and just like all elevated classes, they act the part. Like pricks. Total pricks. If they accuse you, regardless of what procedures they seem to ignore, you're guilty and that's that. Add that to the fact that there's no fucking accountability for lower court judges in this country, it's just easier to plea out even if you haven't done anything wrong because they make it expensive to fight.
          • Re:sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

            by JudgeFurious (455868) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:46PM (#15633913)
            I'm a former cop and I think you're dead wrong. You're painting a large group of people who do a generally unpleasant job with a very large brush. I didn't call it "heroic" you'll notice. It's not. It's mostly long shifts of boredom punctuated by a very few moments of scared shitless.

              Every cop is not "dirty". You just don't know shit about cops. It's understandable really. Not many people really do know what they're talking about when they decide to start venting on law enforcement. People all want the world to work the way it's supposed to but nobody wants to be inconvenienced by the law themselves. Let me drive faster than the speed limit, don't give me any shit about the smell of beer on my breath, and get out of my yard because it's my right to kick my old lady's ass if she's out of line.

              If you think cops are all total pricks you should see some of the total pricks they have to deal with.

              Actual strike that comment. It wouldn't do you any good. You probably are one.

             
            • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Madcapjack (635982) on Friday June 30, 2006 @02:37AM (#15634652)
              Sure, not all cops are assholes. I believe you. Only about half of the ones I've met were. Some were really helpful, really. Others were unneccesarily rude, threatening, and yes, racist. sometimes its hard to blame them, since yeah, they are stressed out a lot, and deal with the pricks of society regularly. more than that- a lot of folks don't like to even hang out with off-duty cops- who feels comfortable with the law breathing down your shoulder all the time? but I do blame them. i blame the bad cops for being bad, and the good cops for not doing much about the bad cops. its not like it isn't in my family- my uncle was a cop, and a complete jerk who liked to scare the holy shit out of little kids, and endulged in a few shady activities. So should cops be painted with so broad a brush? no, but they ought to start thinking about why so many people are ready to do so- without going into lame excuses, much less about being misunderstood. and yes, a lot of on duty cops regularly violate traffic laws- and it pisses a lot of people off.
      • Re:sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

        by zuzulo (136299) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:22PM (#15631010) Homepage
        Folks appear to be missing the point here - the mistake Gannon made had nothing to do with being polite to the police. His mistake was recording audio as well as video. There is a large body of case law confirming the legality of recording video without subjects permission, but as soon as you include audio you run into another set of case law which is much more restrictive. There is a reason virtually all surveillance systems do not record audio data ...
        • Re:sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Spud Stud (739387) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:04PM (#15631538)
          Do the "cruiser-cams" in patrol cars record audio? Without my consent?
        • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jay2003 (668095) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:25PM (#15631778)
          A posted warning about about audio & video recording on private property should be sufficient. If you don't wish to be recorded, stay off the other person property. In fact, you can look it the reverse way. Entering private property an refusing the consent to the recording is illegal trepassing since you don't have the owner's permission to be there without being recorded.

          From artcile, it looks like the Nahsua police department has no problem breaking the law. The article clearly says the policman did not have warrant yet and refused to leave the property when asked. This is all too typical, the police see the need to vigourously enforce this wiretapping law but will NEVER charge the officer with trepass even though there's video tape envidence of the crime. If the police are so concerned about illegal wiretapping, I suggest they get some warrents to search the local at&t switch room and see what they find.
        • by Atroxodisse (307053) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:32PM (#15631844) Homepage
          That only applies if the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. When standing on someone else's private property with a sign that reads "You are being recorded by surveillance", or whatever the sign said, you have no expectation of privacy.
        • Re:sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

          by NynexNinja (379583) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:37PM (#15631894)
          You lack understanding on several grounds. First, you forget that police are public servants of the state government, and as such they are not treated the same way with respect to monitoring of audio/video that ordinary citizens do. The same way that the police have the ability to record their communications with the public, the public also has the right to record their communications with the police, or any other state government agency acting on the public's behalf for that matter. Secondly, this recording occurred on the private property owned by this individual, so just in the same way that a corporation can monitor the actions of employees working on their private property, citizens also have this right. Thirdly, there was a sign in plain view with clear notification that monitoring was taking place on the private property of this individual.
      • Re:sigh (Score:5, Informative)

        by multimediavt (965608) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:27PM (#15631064)
        Actually, if you read the statute [state.nh.us] the letter of the law was violated, but the spirit of the law may not have been. It's really going to be up to the courts to decide this one and may result in portions of the statute being revoked, or emended. IMHO, the law was meant to protect people from having their rights violated by recording devices or intercepts/wiretaps. But, there are many states where things like internal video surveillance cameras in businesses are illegal, or must be clearly marked to the outside as being present. It would seem, from the statute, that NH is one of the ones that prohibits such things except under very specific circumstances. The statute clearly states that *any* recording or intercept of telecommunication or oral communication without the express consent of all parties is at least a misdemeanor.
        • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by macwhiz (134202) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @05:08PM (#15632159)

          Ah, but if you read all of the statute, you'll read the part that says

          "Oral communication" means any oral communication uttered by a person exhibiting an expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation.

          I wonder... if you're standing in front of a surveilliance camera, on someone's front porch next to the street, and there are signs pointing out the camera... are you really justified in believing that the camera couldn't possibly be recording you?

      • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AmericanInKiev (453362) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:46PM (#15631295) Homepage
        Yes - stellar advice. Works wonderful throughout the world - look at how we treated the Indians - they respected the us and made a peace treaty with the us, and the us ran them out on the trail of tears; oh yeah - and the slaves were probably all victims of resrespecting authority.

        Yes - in your lilly-white gated community, if you tip your fedora to the cops and never question the discrimination de jur, you will probably not have your flat flattened. but if you happen to embrace an unpopular economic theory; stand by to be victimized.

        By the way - please continue to enjoy the freedoms which people such as yourself have not and could never have defended, advanced, or invented. The ignorant are blessed with the same liberties as those by whose toil, vigilance, perception, and sacrifice - all personal freedoms are maintained.

        It doesn't really matter if there is more to the story or not - the important fact is that the police are trying to set a precedent that one cannot - in one's own home - operate a camera for the purpose of defending one's self against aggressors. If we allow civil rights to be eroded for others - the erosion will quickly spread to one's own front door.

        AIK
      • Re:sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:49PM (#15631334) Homepage Journal
        I think there's more to the story here than we know.

        There may be, and I agree with you about the whole "treat your neighbor as you would be treated" thingy... BUT...

        The fact remains that he was arrested at the police station where he voluntarily went, with video tape in tow. They didn't arrest him until they found out they had been taped by a security camera. Now, apparently security cameras are legal for businesses, for govn't installations, but according to the police department, are now illegal for securing your own home without the consent of the person that you don't want at your house.

        Further, the police were there without a warrant, which means they are unallowed to sieze anything, including the video tape. Beyond that, although I suppose the man's front stoop is considered private property, you have no right outside of your own home to not be videotaped, as is apparent in any store/stadium/street/elevator/etc. as well as upheld by courts.

        Now, I have to imagine that this will be crushed by the courts - I cannot believe that you cannot tape your own premises for safety - or WHATEVER - reason. Should you be allowed to, I am having flashbacks to reading 1984 with our hero hiding from the eyes of the ever-on cameras in his home.

        Tin-foil hat aside, to your idea of whether or not this person was a PITA to the police at his house that night, well... it's apparently all on tape ;)

      • Re:sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

        by M0b1u5 (569472) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @04:25PM (#15631781) Homepage
        Sorry no. A lot of cops are just assholes - no two ways about it.

        You need to remember, that cops deal with assholes all day long - and they are conditioned to think that if they think you are guilty - then by god - you ARE guilty - and by default - an asshole.

        So, even if you are EXTREMELY polite and VERY accommodating, they can STILL treat you liek shit. One time I was attacked by an insane ex girlfriend of mine in my own home, after she had trashed my bedroom, and caused about $1000 of damage in my bathroom. I had to eject her from the house, using the minimum force required.

        I was bleeding from her scratches to my face when I got her out of the house, and I was shaking like a leaf. I actually rang the police straight away and said that I had been attacked in my own home, and that I had to eject her. Oh, she tried to kick her way through my plate glass window next to my door too, to get back inside. I thought she was gonna sever her foot if she broke the glass.

        Anyway - she ended up calling the cops - and they rang me back telling me it wasn't over. They arrived and came in, and the fuckers are reading me my rights in my own home, when I'm the one dripping blood!

        I made a full statement the following day - and then the prosecuting sargeant really went to town on me - reckoning he was gonna charge me with assault (I weighed twice what she did) and that I was gonna go to prison but worst of all - that I was a bad man. (Which I am not.) This because - in HIS experience, if there's an altercation - then it's always the asshole guy attacking the tiny, defenceless girl.

        I went to see my lawyer straight away - and due to me having two witnesses in the house at the time - who didn't see a lot but heard it all - she said that she'd rip the poilice a new one if they even THOUGHT about arresting me.

        I confidently returned to the police station. Took some more verbal abuse from the sargeant before telling him my lawyer would rip him a new one, and that I was leaving. He told me he wanted me to hand in my 2 rifles, and my gun license. I told him that I would do no such thing - and that he should find some criminals to harrass.

        That was the end of that. But a very harrowing time.
      • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Xabraxas (654195) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @06:22PM (#15632637)
        Not defending the charges in this case (which do seem 100% bogus), but I have found that if you respect the police, they will respect you. If you treat the cops like assholes, they'll probably do the same to you.

        You must live in suburbia. I used to think the same thing when I lived in a nice quiet suburb. Now that I live in the city, amongst a predominatly minority population, I can see that that isn't the case. Being hassled by cops is a part of life now. For example I was accused of stealing a car by a cop while I was walking home from work one day. On another occasion a friend of mine was pulled over while driving home from my apartment at 2AM for having something hanging in his rearview mirror. The cops attempted to search his car, but being an intelligent citizen he refused because they had no probable cause, and the cop was rude as hell telling my friend that he must have something to hide if he was unwilling to have his car searched.

        I have never had to deal with harrassment like that when I lived in the suburbs. The cops practically camp out in my apartment complex. One night I was walking home and there were five cops with their guns drawn patrolling my neighborhood on foot. It was a little frightening. One time I was a victim of fraud and I went to the police station to make a complaint and I was treated like the criminal. Let me just say that living in the city is an eye-opening experience (and I'm not talking Manhatten).

        Now something definitely seems wrong with this police department since the charges are nonsense and it seems like, at that point, they are harassing the citizen. But they do mention the guy's kid is being investigated for some crimes, the guy hasn't been cooperative in the past, and has been verbally abusive. And my completely inappropriate "judge a book by its cover" sensors tell me that by looking at the guy's picture in the article, he rather looks like an uncooperative, verbally abusive redneck. So I suspect that while these charges against him are completely wrong and inappropriate, I get the distinct feeling this isn't some average Joe that's being randomly victimized for no reason by the police. I think there's more to the story here than we know.

        That shouldn't matter. It's your right as an American to be a prick. There isn't a law against being an asshole, even though I don't like dealing with people like that either. Any customer facing job requires that you deal with pains in the ass, but as a professional you deal with it. Cops are supposed to be professionals. If it was a case of being uncooperative with the police during an investigation then you can be charged for that.

    • No kiddin'. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rimbo (139781) <rimbosity AT sbcglobal DOT net> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:00PM (#15630708) Homepage Journal
      Police reported that Gannon "has a history of being verbally abusive" toward police, and that after his arrest, he remarked that the officers "were a bunch of corrupt (expletives)."

      Hard to argue with Gannon.
    • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Romancer (19668) <romancer@deaths d o o r .com> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:16PM (#15630931) Journal
      So the police with their dash cameras and the tollbooths with their license plate cameras, and the stop light cameras, grocery stoor security cameras, mini mart cameras, department store cameras and even the security cameras that they have in the police station where he was arrested are all ok, but on his private property where he lives and is getting harrassed, he can't use one to show the police what they've done to violate his rights?

      yeah, ok. now which way to canada?

      PS, in the article the police try and argue what happened at his house, if he warned them about the camera and if he had posted signs about the camera.

      now if there's video tape of those events and facts, just review that. no argument. no problem. case closed.
      I'd like to see if the cops are on film warning motorists that they are on camera every time they get pulled over. now compare.
  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:30PM (#15630327) Homepage
    Police instead arrested Gannon, charging him with two felony counts of violating state eavesdropping and wiretap law by using an electronic device to record Karlis without the detective's consent.

    Doesn't he know that the President is the only personl legally allowed to wire tap?
    • by KaotiX (204043) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:37PM (#15630415)
      Doesn't he know that the President is the only person legally allowed to wire tap?

      Don't you mean, illegally?
      • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:42PM (#15631247)
        Don't you mean, illegally?
        Apparently you just don't get it. Liberals rarely do, so don't take it personally. The President of the United States cannot do anything illegal, because the very act of commission on his part legitimizes his decision. Because we are in a state of Presidentially-declared war, everything, and I mean everything, he does is under the aegis of the War on Terror. When the President makes a decision, it is within the umbrella of the authority given to him by the necessities of the War on Terror, and that fact retroactively makes his actions legal, regardless of what the text of the law literally says. It's as if his decision actually reached backwards in the space-time continuum, subtly coloring, perhaps even redefining, the meaning of words like "torture," "surveillance," "warrant," etc.

        This authority is vital to national security, possibly to our very survival, and the only thing that could possibly void that power would be the election of a candidate from the Democratic party. If that unlikely event were to come to pass, then yes, the President would be capable of committing an illegal act by authorizing actions in violation of written law. In, and only in, a Democrat-run White House is the President capable of authorizing or committing an illegal act.

  • Ugh! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gentimjs (930934) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:31PM (#15630337) Journal
    I live here in NH and am very upset by this. Many police cars here carry cameras on thier dashboards and tape you when they cops pull you over for a ticket! In addition, all the tollbooths on rt 93 around Manchester all have cameras .. I wonder if any felony acts are being commited there, where I've seen no signs warning me I was on camera?
    • Re:Ugh! (Score:4, Informative)

      by alshithead (981606) * on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:38PM (#15630428)
      New Hampshire law specifically allows law enforcement purposes. There's a link at the bottom of the article to New Hampshire's wiretapping laws.
      • Re:Ugh! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Onan (25162) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:40PM (#15630467)
        Which seems pretty backward. The government should be held to a higher standard than citizens, not a lower one.
        • Re:Ugh! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by arivanov (12034) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:57PM (#15630667) Homepage
          The universal standard as far as politicians are concerned seems to be: All animals are equal. Some are more equal than the others.
        • Re:Ugh! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by misanthrope101 (253915) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:56PM (#15631424)
          Actually I think the police should be required to record both audio and video of every official interaction with the public. I think every interrogation should be recorded in full, and any breaks in the recording for more than 10-20 seconds (to allow for tape change) should mitigate against any 'confessions' obtained during that interrogation. Yes, I'm serious. This would protect the police who are accused of brutality, assuming they were innocent. The "if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide," should apply, but only to the government, because government is where the higher potential for abuse and brutality lies. You don't hear cases of 7-8 armed civilians beating the hell out of an unarmed, handcuffed police officer, but flip that around and it's suddenly less remarkable. Recorded interrogations would protect both the police and the accused, and prevent both frivolous lawsuits from the accused and brutality from the police. The only reason the police wouldn't want an uninterrupted record of the interrogation is if they fully intend on doing things that are illegal and unethical, and they want to prevent a judge and/or jury from seeing how they got that "confession."
    • Re:Ugh! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Plugh (27537) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:44PM (#15630515) Homepage
      I live in NH too... I moved here (along with many others) to fight for Freedom.
      A lot of us over at the forums on NHFree [nhfree.com] are weighing options as to how best to respond.\

      We're known for standing up against the NH police when they step out of line!
      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-301788115 4843817240 [google.com]

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:31PM (#15630344)
    1. The police are public servants. Not only should it be legal to videotape them, it should be encouraged as part of citizen oversight!
    2. Police routinely videotape everything they do; they should expect to be treated the same way.
    3. Not only was this guy arrested, but the police tresspassed on his property and kicked his wife out for 5 hours while they tried to get a search warrant -- even though they were effectively already illegally searching the place!
    4. They complain that he was allegedly rude to them, but think it's okay to be rude to him. In reality it is exactly the opposite: he can call them whatever he damn well pleases because he has Free Speech, while they are restricted while on duty because they're representatives of the State.

    By the way, isn't New Hampshire supposed to be the state all the Libertarians are moving to, and wasn't it chosen because it was the most Free to begin with? Jeez, if this kind of thing can happen there the rest of us are really screwed!

    • I don't think this episode is representative of NH. It sounds like your typical cop abusing their power.
    • by rsilvergun (571051) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:38PM (#15630438)
      By the way, isn't New Hampshire supposed to be the state all the Libertarians are moving to
      That's why the police are taking a hard line. God Damn hippies are movin' in.
    • You're thinking of the FreeState Project [freestateproject.org]. It was initially supposed to be Vermont, but New Hampshire Won out in the end [freestateproject.org].



      --Triv
    • by malchus842 (741252) <stephen@adamsemail.net> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:44PM (#15630523) Homepage

      Not only was this guy arrested, but the police tresspassed on his property and kicked his wife out for 5 hours while they tried to get a search warrant -- even though they were effectively already illegally searching the place!

      Number one rule - never let the police in your house unless they have a search warrant. Never. No matter what. Step out on your porch to talk to them. Or on the driveway. Or sidewalk. And really, don't talk to them without a lawyer present unless YOU called them to report a crime.

      This sounds paranoid, but the police are no longer the friends of the honest citizen - they view EVERYONE as a criminal these days.

    • by Plugh (27537) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:57PM (#15630669) Homepage
      Yes, New Hampshire is the target of the Free State Project [freestateproject.org]; I am one of the First 1000 [freestateproject.org] to move into the state.

      Keep in mind:

      • There are only ~400 Free-Staters in New Hampshire so far. The target is 20,000; over 7,000 have signed up but not yet moved.
      • NH was chosen just 2 years ago. You have to reside here 2 years in order to run for statewide office. This coming November will be the first opportunity to do so for the very earliest movers -- we have over a dozen people who will be running.
      • We've already scored victories -- we have people elected to local office (school board, city council, etc), we killed a proposed statewide smoking ban, we slashed the red tape around home-schooling, and more.
      • You're right -- in any other state, you're pretty much screwed. If this kind of thing bothers you, bothers you enought do do something, you should come join the rest of us who are not taking this shit lying down!

      Check out the grief we gave to the cops on a past case where they misbehaved here [google.com], or see our fight against the National ID here [google.com]

      • I signed up for the Free State Project too. You're leaving a few things out.

        • No one is actually obligated to move to New Hampshire until 20,000 people have signed up. This is the other side of the deal: if a critical mass is reached, then we all have to move within 5 years of member number 20,000 signing up. If a critical mass is never reached, no one has to stake their lives on moving to the middle of nowhere.
        • Membership only reached 5,000 a couple years ago. Member growth has hit a wall, and has no clear signs of picking up again.
        • The Free State Project has all but given up on the 20,000 target, and is instead trying to pressure the first 7,000 to move now so the project is not a total loss.

        New Hampshire is a beautiful state, and parts of the state are within commuting distance of Boston, allowing a few decent opportunities. It's a lot better than Montana or Wyoming, two other states that were highly popular in the voting. I was optimistic about the FSP, but if we don't reach 20,000, we are never going to get anything done. And we aren't gonna reach 20,000 anytime soon.

        • by Plugh (27537) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:45PM (#15631288) Homepage
          The 20,000 number was really a total guess, based on the notion that Free Staters would not be that active. Given the amount of activity here in-state, most of us who have actually moved estimate we really only need a few hundred people. If those people are willing to run for office, and assist in other people's campaigns, this already largely independent state is likely to go "tipping-point". Yes, the number of new signups is low, and I wish it were higher, but that's not the prime focus, really. Every single person who moves here has an impact so, so much greater than they could in any other state, thanks to the low population, mostly classically liberal culture, and open structure of government.

          It's easy to nay-say on the sidelines. It's just so much bullshitting unless you're willing to at least give it a shot.

    • oversight (Score:4, Insightful)

      by j1m+5n0w (749199) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:09PM (#15630844) Homepage Journal
      The police are public servants. Not only should it be legal to videotape them, it should be encouraged as part of citizen oversight!

      Quite true. I have long suspected that the single most effective defense against most abuses of power is a camera (at least in civilized places where public opinion matters). Without video footage, no one will believe the abuses really happened.

      Ubiquitous surveilance is often seen as a tool of big brother, but it can also be a tool against oppression as well. Imagine a society in which many people wear a webcam attached to an ipod-like device with a ring buffer storing everything the wearer sees. Then imagine you are a corrupt police officer who likes to intimidate and/or abuse certain people. Would it give you pause if you knew your actions were quite likely to show up on the news the next day?

  • by ivan256 (17499) * on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:32PM (#15630351)
    Did these guys think that because they were the cops, they didn't have to answer to anybody? If the contents of the tape is what this family says it is, some hard lessons are going to be learned. Unfortunatly, the people who are going to pay are the taxpayers, and not the cops themselves.
  • by Mikkeles (698461) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:32PM (#15630352)
    The law cannot protect you from the police.
  • That sad part is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Serapth (643581) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:33PM (#15630368)
    Most people will look at this and see a corrupt police force and yet another sign of our times. Yes, I see the irony that a citizen is getting charged under a wiretapping law in this day and age.

    Problem is, most people don't see these stories for what they truly generally are. Stupidity. You know, there are stupid cops and even stupid judges. Most of the time, when cases like this make it out into the world people think that the system is to blame. Normally thats not the case, the stupidity of the officers involved are to blame. Well, either that or some queer powertrip, which is far too common with law enforcement aswell.

    In the end, this will all get thrown out in court. Thing is, nobody knows at what cost it will be to the guy involved. Thats truly the greatest flaw of all in the system. IMHO, there should almost be a pre-court judge that can take a look at cases in advance as a checksum against stupidity, and throw them out right away if they are as dumb as this one. I suppose that would be rife for abusing too though.
    • What you do is make a motion for dismissal based on prejudice. Show the judge what you got before your court-date and write up the motion. You'll find most judges/upper people in the COURTS to be cool. Just don't go to the PD to try and get anything done. It's how I got rid of my speeding ticket :D (IANAL)
  • by konigstein (966024) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:35PM (#15630388) Homepage
    according to wcusurveillance [wecusurveillance.com] on surveillance:

    "The laws of 13 states expressly prohibit the unauthorized installation or use of cameras in private places. In Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire , South Dakota, and Utah, installation or use of any device for photographing, observing or overhearing events or sounds in a private place without permission of the people photographed or observed is against the law. A private place is one where a person may reasonably expect to be safe from unauthorized surveillance. Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michagin, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Utah also prohibit trespassing on private property to conduct surveillance of people there. In most of these states, unauthorized installation or use of hidden cameras is a felony, punishable by a 2000.00 fine and up to 2 years in prison."

    Odd. bolding and italics are mine.
  • by alshithead (981606) * on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:35PM (#15630391)
    There's a link at the bottom of the article to New Hampshire's wiretapping laws. I'm not a lawyer but the way it reads to me is that you must give permission in order to be audio taped. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. It could be that by posting signs then you give tacit approval if you choose to come on the property. Or, maybe posting signs isn't sufficient and you have to have someone agree to taping before starting. I did also note that the cops have exemptions that allow their patrol cars to tape as well as other law enforcement exemptions.
  • Slow news day (Score:5, Informative)

    by PCM2 (4486) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:35PM (#15630395) Homepage
    Being arrested, being charged, and being held guilty of a crime are three entirely different things. So far, I hear somebody got arrested.

    As for the why, this article seems a little short on details. But one thing I've heard several times (though it's totally hearsay and it probably varies from state to state anyway) is that it is illegal to record both video and audio without prior consent. Most of the surveillance cameras you see in stores and the like only record video.

    Similarly, it's illegal to record a telephone conversation without telling all parties on the line that it's being recorded. I think that's federal law.

    In other words, yeah the cops probably had a right to arrest the guy. Did the cops it done as a form of harrassment? Yeah, probably. Well knock me over with a feather. Cops, harrassing people? Never!
    • In most states, no you do not need to have another parties consent to record their phone call. In ALL states that have those laws you can record if they say they are going to record. In ALL states you can record person(s) on your property both video and audio, no restrictions. So no, they (the police) were wrong on almost every count and can be sued. With a good lawyer, they'll probably get quite a bit of money.
  • Civil Liberties (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 31415926535897 (702314) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:40PM (#15630460) Journal
    Police reported that Gannon "has a history of being verbally abusive" toward police, and that after his arrest, he remarked that the officers "were a bunch of corrupt (expletives)."

    Obviously this means that his civil liberties can be trampled on.

  • Muppets (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:45PM (#15630534) Homepage Journal
    >> arrested for videotaping police

    I can imagine the Muppets' skit now, "Piiiiggggggs onnnnn Taaaaaappppe".
  • by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:46PM (#15630547) Journal
    Here in Albuquerque police did something similar recently. The police have been cracking down on drinking of any kind. Police were stopping all patrons leaving a particular bar and breath testing them. Even patrons taking a cab or a limo were harrassed. The bar owner had a friend come and videotape them. They said he was interfering with a police investigation, and since some of the officers also worked undercover, he was endangering the officers. So they arrested him. His friend started to videotape them arresting him, so they arrested the friend. Then the bar owner came out and started videotaping them arresting friend one and friend two, so they arrested the owner. Never mind these supposedly undercover cops were in full uniform on a busy street, they were endangered by these evil videotapers.

    On the other hand, not all cops are bad. Once in college I got a flat tire while driving an unregistered uninsured hippy painted VW bus carrying a bag of weed. A nice officer stopped (in the rain no less) and helped me change the tire without even checking my license or registration, let alone whether a hippy painted VW bus might have contraband onboard.

    On the third hand (yes, it's a Larry Niven reference) I've seen cops beat my friends for trying to feed homeless people on the street in San Francisco. Then they poured our soup down the drain and poured bleach over our bagels right in front of about 100 homeless folks.

    So YMMV where police are concerned, some are cool, some are total dicks.
  • Problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by warp1 (231206) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:49PM (#15630575) Homepage
    Video tapping the police is not the problem here, it's wanting to file a complaint. Here in Phoenix, AZ a local news crew went to all the city police departments explaining that they wanted to file a complaint against an officer on that policed force. The television newsman was run out, ignored and threatened. Only the Phoenix police had a system of citizen complaints and treated the newsman with respect. I believe it was an eye opening news story for both people making complaints and the police departments stung.
  • by catch23 (97972) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:51PM (#15630598)
    If you would like to give them a piece of your mind, here's a few phone numbers that are worth jotting down:

    Conley, Donald, Deputy Chief Executive Officer
    603-594-3500

    Hefferan, Timothy, Chief of Police
    603-594-3600

  • duh! (Score:5, Informative)

    by frovingslosh (582462) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:54PM (#15630635)
    What do you expect in a country where we discriminate against applicants to the police force because they are too intelligent [ananova.com]?
  • Jury duty (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:56PM (#15630664) Homepage
    Why can't I get called for jury duty on a case like this? Besides the fact I don't live there. I could pretty much guarantee a not guilty verdict, or a hung jury at a minimum.

    Now at last we can turn the arguement around: If you're not doing anything wrong, why worry about the cameras? Police routinely tape large demonstrations and outdoor events, how is this any different? There's no expectation of privacy in public place, that's why they had to use wiretap laws. It wasn't the video, it was the audio. I'm guessing N.H. is a two-party state, where both parties have to consent to monitoring.

    Either way this was a hugely bad move for the police department. Now it looks like they charged the guy in retaliation and are trying to cover up misdeeds by their own personnel. The defense will want to play the tape for the jury and they'll get to see the officer's unfiltered conduct. Not his well-dressed, well-mannered courtroom testimony. He might not have had a damage award case if they hadn't arrested him, but they might now if the jury is convinced the police acted out of malice. Dumb and dumber.

    Smartest move the prosecutor could make would be to throw out the case, but none of those involved strike me as particularly gifted in the PR department.

    So much for the Supreme Court counting on improved training to keep police conduct in check.

  • NH Statute 644:9 (Score:4, Informative)

    by Spritzer (950539) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @03:39PM (#15631211) Journal
    N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. 644:9 states:
    II. As used in this section, "private place" means a place where one may reasonably expect to be safe from surveillance including public restrooms, locker rooms, the interior of one's dwelling place, or any place where a person's private body parts including genitalia, buttocks, or female breasts may be exposed.
    This would suggest that a front porch is fair game as it is not private. . Unfortunately, paragraph I states:
    I. A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if such person unlawfully and without the consent of the persons entitled to privacy therein, installs or uses: ... (c) Outside a private place, any device for the purpose of hearing, recording, amplifying, broadcasting, or in any way transmitting images or sounds originating in such place which would not ordinarily be audible or comprehensible outside such place.
    This would imply that a CCTV camera with a recorder in another room is illegal. What I can't seem to find is any statute referring to a felony. I'm thinking we have another case of idiot cops on a power trip getting caught and digging their hole deeper trying to hide it.

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