Balko has some good news. Anthony Graber, a Maryland man who was charged with felony wiretapping for recording a police officer during a traffic stop, has had those charges dismissed by a state judge. The police actually busted down his door and arrested him after he posted the video of the traffic stop on the internet. The judge said:
“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.”
Hear, hear. But Balko notes a double standard:
Had Graber unknowingly violated state law in a manner that caused very little actual harm to anyone else, he at the very least would have had felony record. He could have gone to prison for several years.
Instead, we have public officials who violated the law, who should have known they were violating the law, and who caused significant harm to someone else in the process.
So what will be their punishment?
The same as it always is: Nothing.