Lexington Park, Md. (WUSA) -- Yet another Marylander has been arrested and accused of a felony for videotaping an encounter with police, a controversial application of Maryland's wiretapping statute that civil libertarians say is an abuse of the law.
According to Southern Maryland News, Yvonne Nicole Shaw, 27, was arrested Saturday at Colony Square in Lexington Park after recording an encounter with officers who had been called for a noise complaint.
The website reported that Sheriff's Cpl. Patrick Handy wrote in a statement of probable cause that he was talking to people in the neighborhood when he and another deputy spotted Shaw standing about 12 feet away and holding her cell phone "in a manner suggesting she was recording our activity."
Handy seized the cell phone.
Prosecutors have not decided wether to pursue the case.
The latest incident comes to light as the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland has taken up another case involving a motorcyclist who has been charged with a felony for videotaping police pulling a gun on him during a traffic stop.
It's an incident that has attracted national attention after the video was posted to YouTube and the motorcyclist was charged with violating Maryland's wiretapping statute, which says private conversations can only be recorded if all parties consent.
Civil libertarians say the conversation was not private because it occurred along a public roadway and involved a public official carrying out duties in the open.
"Police have no expectation of privacy in this situation," said Carlos Miller, a Miami-based blogger and journalist who follows similar cases nationwide. "These guys put on the uniform. They are paid by our tax money, and they are dealing with the public."
Twenty-five year old Anthony Graber was pulled over by Maryland State Trooper Joseph Uhler in March while the motorcyclist was recording his trip on a helmet mounted camera. Graber admits to speeding, and one version of the video on YouTube shows him popping a wheelie as his speedometer hits 128 mph, while he was going north on I-95 in Harford County.
Uhler, who was in plainclothes at the time, briefly pulled his gun as he confronted Graber.
After Graber posted the video to YouTube, police raided his home, seized cameras and computers and charged him with a felony that could land him in jail for up to 16 years.
"I don't want to go to jail," Graber told WJZ in Baltimore. "It wasn't a violent crime no one was injured."
Police say they are applying the law fairly.
"We are enforcing the law, and we don't make any apologies for that," said State Police spokesman Greg Shipley when he spoke to WJZ.
Shipley noted Graber told the trooper he was not being recorded.
State Police also record traffic stops on video, but they inform motorists when the camera is rolling.
Written by Scott Broom
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