Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Crazy man with a gun!

Quick! Call the cops!

Except it is the cops. And these ones apparently took enough umbrage at being taped that they threw the guy in jail, but only after tossing his house on a warrant for some very dubious charges.

Granted, the guy on the bike had earned a traffic citation fair and square, but what was Officer Martin Riggs Joseph Uhler going to do? Ventilate him for speeding? Last I heard, 30 over wasn't a capital offense anywhere outside of Ohio, and even there they usually do the whole courtroom-'n'-jury thing and don't just punch your ticket in the roadside ditch.

For the record: Plainclothes traffic stop in unmarked unit w/drawn gun = Very Bad Idea.



(H/T to Unc.)

33 comments:

BUFF_dragon said...

If it had've been me, I would have probably (stupidly in hindsight) drawn my pistol. All I would have seen was someone cutting me off, jumping out and running at me with a gun drawn....
Yes, that would have turned out badly for both people, I just dont see how its smart for a cop to jump out of his car, weapon drawn, no visible markings, no identification, nothin.... looks like a BAD DEAL to me

(I am not able to watch the video, so my thoughts may not be in perfect context, I did read the article though)

Tam said...

Under those circumstances, given his activities of a few moments before, he rightly (thankfully) assumed it was a cop and not just some road rager.

Of course, in MD, only the po-po and criminals pack heat.

BUFF_dragon said...

I just have a feeling that whole thing would have gone down MUCH differently had it happened in a different state, like Kentucky or Indiana.

Jeff said...

That's scary as hell, I might have drawn as well, at the very least tried to get the hell out of there.

Anonymous said...

"For the record: Plainclothes traffic stop in unmarked unit w/drawn gun = Very Bad Idea."

Plainclothes traffic stop in unmarked unit = Very Bad Idea.

But they've become very common in the past 10+ years.

Do we really want to condition and require the population to obey anybody claiming to be a police officer?

Stuart the Viking said...

I have seen storys of this whole wiretap law being used to charge people who videotaped cops before. It always gets me to the point of screaming mad. If anything, the police should be required to assume that they ARE being videotaped (and yes, that means audio also) absolutely anytime they are on duty. Well... besides obvious times where they have the expectation of privacy (like when they go to tinkle etc.). A VERY PUBLIC lawsuit needs to happen over this so that this crap can get stuffed where it belongs post haste!

Officer Uhler, can you say malicious prosecution? Because in spite of the fact that you were acting under the color of law, some things go so far beyond the pale as to be criminal in nature in spite of color of law. Oh, and then there is the question of why you filed a false police report. Officer Uhler, did you, or did you not draw your weapon during the course of your dutys in this incedent (hint... we got video asshole). Why is this not in your official report? Might it be that you committed agrivated assault and didn't want to officially report it? (at least that's what brandishing a weapon for no good reason is called in my neck of the woods).

Yes, I know that the whole "Color of law" bullshit would get this guy off on ALL of these charges and he probably won't ever face any consequences of his actions. I even agree with color of law in most cases, but this... this was an asshole abusing the privelege. That pisses me off.

s

fast richard said...

In the longer of the two videos, he was driving fast, but not recklessly, for part of the time. Part of the time he was going with the flow of traffic. I'd describe his driving as illegal but not wrong.

Anonymous said...

Consent of Parties
Twelve states require, under most circumstances, the consent of all parties to a conversation. Those jurisdictions are California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Be aware that you will sometimes hear these referred to inaccurately as “two-party consent” laws. If there are more than two people involved in the conversation, all must consent to the taping. The more accurate term is "all-party consent."

From Legalad

It is my understanding young biker failed to stop for a marked car as well.

Gerry

CeeZar said...

Is that a gun or a cup of tea?

Matt said...

I can pretty much guess what this cop will say ... The driver was backing away from me in an "obvious" attempt to escape and i pulled my weapon in order to prevent that. As soon as backup arrived I re-holstered my weapon.

I might, maybe, possibly agree with him IF he'd been uniformed so that the rider was aware he was a cop or if he had pulled his gun AND badge and said "police" immediately after exiting the vehicle. I might even give him the benefit of the doubt if he hadn't escalated the whole thing later with a bunch of trumped up charges. As soon as he did that he lost any credibility.

The sad thing is, being from Maryland, I've run into overzealous troopers like this before. While I've dealt with troopers that were decent stand up guys, assholes like this make them all look bad.

Tam said...

Gerry,

"From Legalad"

Your copypasta came from a site about taping phone calls, not running a video camera in the middle of a public thoroughfare.

Frank W. James said...

In Indiana I believe it's written somewhere that a plain clothes police officer in an unmarked car has NO authority to stop a vehicle for a moving violation; gun or no-gun.

(Shootin Buddy would know more than me, but I remember something to that effect from a brief spell and the odd conversation down at the academy in Plainfield.)

All The Best,
Frank W. James

atlharp said...

I might even give him the benefit of the doubt if he hadn't escalated the whole thing later with a bunch of trumped up charges. As soon as he did that he lost any credibility.


That is where I am at too. It seems that in the absence of concealed carry the cops tend to be more trigger happy or more likely to brandish their side arms in cases where it is not considered proper. I just hope this dude has the number for an attorney.....KA-CHING!

John A said...

Also note, about the search warrant -

“There is no signature from the judge on the paperwork”

which certainly does not inspire confidence in any part of the department. Or the DA. Or, perhaps, the local courts if a judge gave an oral assurance the warrant would be signed but then reneged, or if no signature is required for a warrant to stand up in court.

Anonymous said...

Tam,

Maryland law concerns recording, video or otherwise as an invasion of privacy. Linda Tripp ran in to problems for her phone recordings.

Here are some other video arrest from the same website you linked to.
http://carlosmiller.com/2008/10/03/cops-arrest-man-for-videotaping-them-against-their-wishes/

Don't get me wrong, I think the law is flawed. Why should I not be able to record my arrest and questioning if the police are allowed to do it? That opinion gets you nothing in court.

IMHO If you are going to video your life travels you should understand the state privacy laws concerning recording or taping conversations.

Gerry

Divemedic said...

It is only illegal when there is an expectation of privacy. If it were any other way, the news would have to get your permission to show traffic driving on the highway.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I suspect that a public official in a public place in the course of his duty does not have much of a legal expectation of privacy.

In his office, behind doors he might, or on the phone.

But I am not a lawyer.

But cops are NOTORIOUS for hating being video-taped in public, which is utter BS.

They TAPE US with the COP-CAMS, after all, and I NEVER recall giveing permission to that.

MrWolf. said...

Many years ago, an acquaintance of mine was walking in Swiss Cottage (London), enjoying a pleasant summer afternoon, when a plain car squealed to a halt beside him, and three scruffy men in jeans and t-shirts jumped out at him.

A few seconds (and one broken arm, one broken collarbone, and four bruised testicles)later, he asked a woman watching from her garden to please call the police. As you have guessed, they WERE the police.

Deciding that this innocent pedestrian could well be a drug dealer, they tried to grab him quickly, before he could run or dispose of any drugs he might be carrying. (No, the judge didn't believe it either.)
I understand the local Drug Squad changed their arrest technique very soon afterwards.

My acquaintance was walking back from his martial arts class, and possibly even more 'tuned in' than usual. In his own words 'I just switched to automatic. Didn't even have time to think about it until afterwards.'

How fortunate that the motor cyclist was not returning from
a) a defensive driving course, or
b) a defensive shooting course.

I have (mostly) found police officers to be pleasant and shrewd. Perhaps this one is in the wrong job?

Best wishes.

Zendo Deb said...

Even the judge who let this guy out of jail said that it did NOT appear that he broke the wire tap law.

If you are walking or driving down a public street, there may be a news crew - or a tourist if you life where I do - recording, snapping photos whatever. You have no expectation of privacy. Red light cams. Dashboard cams. etc. (You can put dashboard cams in your own car to collect evidence in the event of a crash.)

So all of you would-be-lawyers need to click through to the news article and read down to the part where he got released by a judge who didn't understand why he was arrested in the first place. Or maybe you know more than the Maryland courts.

falnfenix said...

To my layperson's eyes, the only law the rider broke was speeding/evading an officer. Frankly, I'm surprised he didn't run...lord knows we have plenty around here who do.

I really need to get the hell out of this state...I don't like knowing a cop will pull a gun on me for riding on 2 wheels instead of in a car.

(This isn't the first time this has happened, it's just the first time it's been caught on tape.)

D.W. Drang said...

Software from Qik, inc.'s needs to be on your phone, if it does video.

B said...

Another infuriating wrinkle in this case, as reported by Radley Balko at:

http://reason.com/archives/2010/04/26/watching-the-detectives

"Graber was harassed, intimidated, illegally arrested, and jailed for an act that clearly wasn't illegal. According to Graber, the name of the judge who signed off on the raid of his parents' home doesn't appear on the warrant. As Graber told Miller, "They told me they don’t want you to know who the judge is because of privacy." If true, that statement is so absurd it's mind numbing. A judge issued an illegal warrant for police to invade the private residence and rummage through the private belongings of a man who broke no laws, and we aren't permitted to know the judge's name in order to protect the judge's privacy?"

WTF, over?

Tam said...

B,

That is mentioned at the post I linked.

Bram said...

He flashed a gun, not a badge? Do that in front of my car and your name is speed bump.

Buffboy said...

Ok, we have the motorcyclist's version of the story and an edited version of the application for a warrant. Notice, no copy of the actual warrant.

Scenario: Bike blows by marked unit, marked unit initiates pursuit, unit can't keep up, off duty HP hears ruckus on radio, off duty HP coordinates with marked unit on a felony stop(yes, guns are drawn for such, always, it was never pointed at biker) for eluding(felony)/speeding/reckless driving at traffic light, cops make stop (remember, he has already run once before), arrest biker. Later cops learn of video on Utube, anything you say or do is admissible in court if procedures are correctly followed. I've seen the "long version" of this video but it's still quite edited. The cops wanted the original uncut footage to use in court, they went after a warrant and got it. Warrant isn't signed(biker says, again no copy shown), telephonic warrants aren't always, but the original is, will be shown in court, to both him and his attorney. Cops have to show their hand in court, and aren't supposed to try the case in the media. Want to guess which way this goes when it comes to court?

SpeakerTweaker said...

I read the story and viewed the video. As I read it, he knew he blew past an unmarked and was pretty much ready to get nailed on the speeding.

What's scary is the plainclothes-gun drawn-traffic stop.

I'm pretty much right there with Buff_Dragon. All I see is some a$$hat cut me off and jump out with a gun. Previous circumstances aside, I'm clearing leather and it's going to end badly for at least one of us.

And I'm also looking hard at the earlier Nony-Mouse comment. It sure does seem that they want people to obey anyone claiming to be a cop alright. However, that particular cop got out, jerked his people-popper, and yelled at the driver to get off the bike. I never heard the word police, and I never saw a badge. I'll check the video again, but just damn.



tweaker

BUFF_dragon said...

There have been home invasions where the thieves knock on the door and scream "POLICE, OPEN UP" only to break in and steal shit....
I can't find articles on it right now, but I know that I DO NOT believe anyone that just says they're police, I will call 911 until it is proven.
Unless I have called and know they're on their way to my house (my neighbor is an ass that shoots at my livestock and above my wife's head while she was in the woods on our property behind his house)

Anonymous said...

In Indiana I believe it's written somewhere that a plain clothes police officer in an unmarked car has NO authority to stop a vehicle for a moving violation; gun or no-gun . . . Shootin Buddy would know more than me . . ."

Frank, the statute is codified at Indiana Code 9-30-2-2.

I'll bring IPDC codebooks to a blogmeet.

Shootin' Buddy

Firehand said...

Didn't either the Supremes or a federal district court rule that while performing their duties law enforcement have no expectation of privacy?

And a couple of others beat me to this: years back my daughter was taught "Somebody tries to force you to stop, and you don't KNOW they're police, you drive. If they don't move, you driver over them." This jerk with a badge is lucky this happened where it did; lots of places he'd have had tire tracks over his body.

Say the guy did commit a felony that might allow drawn gun as you exit the car: where the hell is your badge or other id so he KNOWS you're a cop? Bad idea, indeed.

ParatrooperJJ said...

That's why traffic stops in unmarked cars are illegal in Ohio.

Will said...

Back when I lived in NJ, an unmarked unit with uniformed driver attempted a stop at night on a female driver. She kept going until stopped at an opened drawbidge. When it got to court, the judge informed the cops that the next time they used an unmarked unit for a traffic stop, the cops involved were going directly to jail. Don't know if he had a specific law he would use, but he was royally pissed off.

Anonymous said...

Then why can Cities etc. tape law-abiding citizens WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT while they're going about their daily duties?

I'm sick of these laws that make it criminal for citizens to do something that the Government can do without restraint.

Matt G said...

My mind boggles. If this guy plays his attorney correctly, some state cops personally may well be looking at a civil rights suit that has merit.

But this admittedly is ONE-sided. I want to see what the cops say about this.