• Sep 28, 2010
Anthony Graber meets the Maryland State Police – Click above to watch video after the jump

Score one for the good guys. Not that we think police in general are bad guys or anything, but after watching this video of a Maryland state trooper jumping out of his unmarked car in plain clothes while brandishing a gun, we're not exactly keen to put him in the good guy category, either.

In any case, Anthony Graber, a man who was out shooting video of his (not exactly completely legal) motorcycling exploits when he was confronted by the aforementioned officer, was charged with felony wiretapping for recording the state trooper's actions when being pulled over.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Judge Emory A. Pitt Jr. has thrown out the wiretapping charge, leaving Graber only to answer for his traffic violations. Why? Common sense, it would seem, has prevailed. The judge ruled that police officers shouldn't have an expectation of privacy when engaged in a traffic stop. He said, in part:
Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public. When we exercise that power in public fora, we should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation.
Reacquaint yourself with the completely legal video after the break. Hat tips to Jason and Tom!

[Sources: Baltimore Sun, Slashdot]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 63 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I understand the guy was being wreckless on the bike, but we all do stupid things at some point in our life. Should there have been some sort of citizens arrest, sure, I know I would like to from time to time, but for an off-duty cop to pull something like that is putting himself and others in danger.

      Police officers should have to follow laws as a civilian does when they are off duty. I understand there are conceal/carry laws out there for off-duty police officers, but that was just stupid of him to jump out of his car wielding a handgun. He should have been wielding a badge instead.

      Was the guy on the bike wreckless? Yes. Did he deserve some form of punishment? Probably. Did the cop have the right to pull out on a gun on a person while off duty? Hell No.

      If anyone thinks what the cop did was acceptable behavior, you would be wrong. That type of thing is what makes people scared of cops. These are the people who are sworn to serve and protect us, not jump out of a hoopty Malibu with a gun in hand yelling for somebody to get off a motorcycle with no form of identification in hand. It would have been more acceptable for this cop to follow the motorcyclist and call it in to his dispatch or 911 or whatever.

      Even though that cop was in plain clothes, if he was on duty, that car should have lights and he should have a badge on his jacket or in his hand.
      • 4 Years Ago
      In a perfect video, both cop and cyclist get struck by lightning at the end... then Nelly Furtado does a booty dance. :)
      • 4 Years Ago
      If I saw somebody casually dressed (with no badge or anything) coming out of a car with a gun pointed at me, the first thing I would do is floor it into them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree. If some regular-looking dude flung his door open in front of me, brandished a gun, and yelled at me to get off my motorcycle, you can bet I wouldn't think twice about smacking into him with the bike (or at least taking off down the shoulder). In that instance in my mind, he's no different than someone trying to jack my bike, and I'm sure not gonna wait around to see if he has more to say before I react.

        Cop should've had his badge in his hand instead, or should've just waited till a properly-dressed cop approached the motorcyclist first.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Exactly. No badge = no cop.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Best news I have read in a month.
      This and other current cases are massively important as police across the country seem to be moving almost en masse to try to make the case that it is illegal to record an officer in the performance of duty.

      That is an extremely dangerous thing for a society to adopt in my estimation.
      The very fact of how may times it has led to police officers being found to be acting not in accordance with either policy or law is reason enough to show it as paramount that such freedoms are maintained.

      I have friends that are cops and am respectful of the necessity of them and sometimes think they get a bad rap.
      But they are just people and power is an extremely corruptive force.
      They idea they should be beyond observation and recoring of actions in public is akin to many dictatorships around the world.
      Extremely troubling.
      • 4 Years Ago
      if Autoblog had a "Like" button for this I would have broken my mouse by now

      I know what he did was reckless but... really? Really??? sigh.
      • 4 Years Ago
      First, a couple things I noticed. When our crotch rocket perp blasts past the bus on the right side, he does so on one wheel. Shortly after passing the car covered in primer, you see the marked patrol car appearing in the service gap, preparing to pursue. I imagine that our friend was being followed for some time, longer than the video suggests, and the plains clothes officer possibly radioed ahead to intercept. And as the same officer is exiting his unmarked car, the motorcyclist is walking his bike backwards in what could be seen as an attempt to escape.

      I'm friends with a few police officers, who will tell you the most dangerous thing they do is the traffic stop. They have no idea who or what the are approaching, and many an officer has been killed in the line of duty in just that situation. More than a few well trained officers will approach a vehicle with at least thier hand on thier weapon.

      I don't disagree will the judges ruling, but i do disagree with those who trash the officer for drawing his weapon when approaching this a-hole.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This guy was in plain clothes in an unmarked car, brandishing a gun at this guy and no badge showing. What if the guy on the motorcycle had a gun too, thinking this was just some wacko on the road? Could have ended badly for both. Sorry, Buck Wang, the officer put himself at risk here. Most cops are good guys just doing their job, but they get bad apples like any other place of business. Yeah, the motorcycle guy was reckless, but so were this cops actions.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Back away, or the bike gets it!"
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Back away, or the bike gets it!"

        Brilliant!

        I swear that guy looks like a video game character up close. Imagine him pixelated a bit...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hummm... who do I hate more, traffic cops or bikers. That's a tough one.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Man, I would have freaked out if this freak showed up with his gun in front of me.
        How would one know it's a cop?!

        Maybe I would have thought I'm getting robbed, and accelerated to get the hell out, just to get shot in the back by this a-hole on his power trip.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Lucas: Sheesh. What do you have against bikers?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'll pick squids over thugs. Squids are mostly only a danger to themselves. Thugs make everybody's life miserable.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Seriously though, a lot of these officers are on a power trip. They think they are the Sh$t.
      • 4 Years Ago
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NGeEEZIfZz4#!

      Watch that video to see a complete 180 from this traffic stop. Unfortunately (or maybe not) cops are human and they have different personalities and different moods from day to day that can effect their work.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Awesome video, that cop was really nice.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good for the motorcyclist. I do support local law enforcement, but this is the kind of stuff that really infuriates me that some of these cops feel as if they have "above-the-law" power.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm glad the judge did the right thing since there is no possible way that anyone, let alone public servants, traveling on public thoroughfares can expect privacy. Although, if the judge had ruled differently, it may have led to some interesting cases against traffic cameras.

      Also, that state trooper should face SEVERE disciplinary action. In many states his actions put him at direct risk of being shot and killed by people legally carrying firearms for personal protection since he was in an unmarked car in plain clothes and did not announce himself as he left his vehicle while brandishing a weapon.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "I feared for my life, your honor!"
      • 4 Years Ago
      Maybe that cop should look for work in Moscow......
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would have shat bricks if I was him. Seriously the part where he came out of the car with the gun was scary.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If it happened to me, unless that guy identified himself a lot more quickly, he would be the one on the ground with two shots to the chest. Of course, I do not live in a state like Maryland where non-criminals are not allowed to be armed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        paul34 -

        Another internet tough guy. So many asswipes claim "oh, I'll have put two in his chest, blah blah blah."

        The truth is no, you wouldn't. Even if you tried, by the time you lifted up your heavy leather jacket (assuming you are not a squid and gear up) and drew your weapon, the cop would've already shot you because he's already got his pistol drawn. Simple timing calculations.

        Stop talking tough on your keyboard.
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