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Article posted Jun 13 2007, 7:08 AM Category: Commentary Source: Prison Planet Print

Man Faces 7 Year Sentence Under "Wiretapping Law" For Filming Police

OK for police and government to film and wiretap US citizens though
By Steve Watson

A man has been charged in Carlisle, Pennsylvania with filming police officers during a routine traffic stop and faces up to seven years in prison for "wiretapping".

Brian D. Kelly is charged under a state law that bars the intentional interception or recording of anyone's oral conversation without their consent, reports the Patriot News.

The criminal case relates to the sound, not the pictures, that his camera picked up.

His camera and film were seized by police during the May 24 stop, he said, and he spent 26 hours in Cumberland County Prison until his mother posted her house as security for his $2,500 bail. Police also took film from his pockets that wasn't related to the traffic stop, he said.

Kelly, just 18 years old, is obviously extremely scared and has apologized profusely for not knowing the law. He has sought the help of the ACLU in the case.

The charge is invalid because it flouts privacy laws. Under the fourth amendment the expectation of privacy is not reasonable at such public places as automobile thoroughfares.

In other words filming on a public highway cannot be classed as an invasion of privacy.

Furthermore, the expectation of privacy is not reasonable if there exists a vantage point from which anyone, not just a police officer, can see or hear what is going on.

Charging someone with wiretapping for filming on a public highway in this sense would be akin to charging someone with arson for cooking burgers on a grill.

The charge also becomes bogus because the "wiretapping" law is not adhered to by police officers themselves. An exception to the wiretapping law allows police to film people during traffic stops.

In addition police routinely carry microphones that are wired up to their vehicles to record conversations without the knowledge of anyone whom they stop or question.

This is not the first time this has happened either. Last year a North Middleton Twp. man was charged in a street racing case that involved a wiretapping charge. Police claimed the man ordered associates to tape police breaking up an illegal race after officers told him to turn off their cameras.

Furthermore, just last month a 48-year-old man from Dover, New Hampshire was arrested for "wiretapping" for allegedly recording police while they were investigating him for driving while intoxicated.

In addition we have previously covered stories where camera crews have been threatened with arrest for filming peaceful demonstrations, and where cops have been caught stealing protestor's cameras.

Filming in public is a right every American citizen has under the first amendment, which is why the cops in the case above had to steal the camera and the footage, because there was no legal basis to seize it.

It seems that filming and photographing is now deemed to be a threat per se. Pick from any number of stories archived at for example.

In Seattle, police banned a photography student from a public park. He was taking photographs of a bridge for a homework assignment. The officers who ban him from the park do so without the knowledge of park officials and have no authority to do so.

In Texas a man was first threatened by neighbors and then reportedly accosted and sprayed with pepper spray by police. He was walking around his neighborhood, filming with his new video camera.

In New York, National Press Photographers Association members staged a protest in the New York subway system to bring attention to a proposed law to ban photography in the subway system.

In Philadelphia a magazine photographer was detained and questioned after a parade for taking architectural shots while waiting for a subway train.

In Harrisburg, PA a man was swarmed by 8 Police and accused of being a member of Al-Qaeda after shooting pictures of his new car under a bridge.

We have recently exposed how some police now do not understand that they are violating the rights of individuals. In other cases we have witnessed police pull out pocket constitutions from cars and question their legality.

In addition we have a government which has been mired in scandal for wiretapping US citizens without warrant, yet when the tables are turned US citizens face the full wrath of the corrupt judicial system.

Though clearly Brian D. Kelly had no criminal intent and is likely to escape with just a fine, the case sets a dangerous precedent. US citizens can be arrested and charged for filming on public streets.

It also sets the precedent that those who enforce the law are also above the law.

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Comments 1 - 19 of 19 Add Comment Page 1 of 1

Posted: Jun 14 2007, 9:43 AM

8466 This policy is happening in the UK, excalty the same films stolen by the police or people arrested for no reason.
Make no mistake its deliberate and comes from the Top down.
Big Brother doesn't like being watched.
The fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes on the Tube by the police, one day after the 7/7 bombings. Yet there was no film in the security camera's. I think not.
Video evidence is the only proof needed showing the police lie.
Thats why they dont like it.
Every time they arrest/attack someone filming its sending a public message, 'dont film us or we will get you'.


Posted: Jun 14 2007, 10:34 AM

1242 What gall. And where the hell has the ACLU been during the Bush Adminsitration, period? In NYC, every precinct put up 50 surveillance cameras in their patrol area. Not a peep from the ACLU. Before the Republican National Convention here in 2004, Bloomberg released his plans to jail at least 2000 protesters to the Daily News. I read all about it before the protests then after the protests read in the same paper about how the people arrested were detained for so long because the City did not anticipate making arrests. Where was the ACLU?

Probably somewhere dark trying to keep a low profile so they don't get called "Liberals", "America Haters" and other bad names anymore. The people who are vested with representing those of us that don't want to live in Fascist police state need to realize they have a duty to put aside their fear of / need for acceptance by/ desire to please/ gullibity for propoganda of the Right Wing. The democrats are so afraid of what the Right Wing will do to them that they are tripping over their own feet and now their approval ratings are lower than the White House's. Unbelievable. Stand for something or get the hell out of the way and let someone who will have the floor.

Posted: Jun 14 2007, 11:03 AM

the ACLU has never been interested in the deterioration of the rights of individuals. They don't care about laws that take away our rights. They only want more laws, new laws, protecting the rights we should already have anyway (that is, if the Constitution means anything at all anymore). They don't care about bad laws that could potentially harm us, until it's too late and too many people have already been harmed, and then, only if it's a big enough problem, only if it affects enough people, and only if they are certain of success will they join the fight.

Posted: Jun 14 2007, 11:16 AM

19972 Wow. This is absolutely ridiculous! You should be able to tape whatever you want in open public places!
Jay Wollmann

Posted: Jun 14 2007, 11:19 AM

81227 Absolutely ridiculous.

Posted: Jun 14 2007, 11:55 AM

241 DONT BACK DOWN KELLY!!!! You are completely in the right on this.

Take them all the way and make them pay for BS like this. I had a similar thing happen to me except I used a still camera.

Posted: Jun 14 2007, 12:58 PM

72193 Police should be GPS tagged and recorded at ALL times.

I mean, since they never do anything wrong, they should be happy for any evidence that supports their side of the story.

On the other hand, if they abuse their position on a regular basis, then I could see why they don't want anybody to have a record of their crimes


Posted: Jun 14 2007, 1:23 PM

652 He should not have to pay a fine. If anything he should be compensated for everything he had to go through.

Posted: Jun 14 2007, 1:26 PM

19823 I've got two thoughts here - if employers are allowed to film & listen to their employees actions while they are performing their work functions -- it would stand to reason that *We* the people are the ones employing the police with our taxes , And therefore have the right to film record them in the police in the execution of their jobs. The second thought is if they are doing their jobs and doing them correctly what do they have to fear. This seems to be akin to the raise if the Nazi party in pre-war Germany.

Posted: Jun 14 2007, 2:48 PM

649 "OK for police and government to film and wiretap US citizens though"

I can't believe they could get away with this for this reason alone:

Wouldn't they under the same guidelines also have to lockup every single news person filming any type of a public event with audio in a public place? I would image that would be "wiretapping" by all means.
Joseph Grabko

Posted: Jun 14 2007, 3:32 PM

69242 THIS EXACT SAME THING happened to me at the age of 18 almost EXACTLY A YEAR AGO in Harrisburg, not far away from Carlisle.

Information Liberation covered my story here:

MY ACCURATE version of events is at .

Posted: Jun 14 2007, 4:44 PM

74107 It is shocking that the liberties that our ancestors fought and died for over the last several hundred years are simply disappearing and so few people seam to care. I can only guess that the authorities act this way is because they do have something to hide. All those who support big brothers actions with the comment that ‘why should I worry, I have nothing to hide’ live in a dream world where our leaders are benign and bureaucrats are always looking out for our best interests. I fear for our future.

Posted: Jun 14 2007, 7:15 PM

70127 Police operate as the enforcment arm of a Corporate Municipality "CITY OF....." and can only enforce the statutes and codes of those voluntarily assenting to their jurisdiction.

If they acto outside of their jurisdiction then they are acting in a private capacity.

So bring charges of kidnapping, theft, grand theft auto.

Charge them $10,000 a day for "borrowing" your car. Sue the attorney general,

Notify the sheriff, contract with the governor...

Sue the policeman individually, Sue all those who were wwith him, Sue his supervisor

I urge this man to attack the Bond the Police Officer had to put up on the City's Charter. Police must do this in case they violate peoples rights, they use the bond to pay for damages.

Hit up the policemans bond, and contract with the Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State regarding your rights and have them explain what law allow Police to violate protected 4th amendment rights.

They will not be able to answer and you can hold them in default with a notary.

This is not legal advice but for educational and research purposes only.

I'm just sick of these Communists pigs taking over my country.


Posted: Jun 15 2007, 1:39 AM

202216 I bet the pigs have video cameras on ther dashboards recording the traffic stops, right?

Posted: Jun 15 2007, 10:26 AM

205170 The REAL irony of this story is that Carlisle is the the home to BOTH Dickinson College, an outstanding four year liberal arts school AND the U.S. Army War College. So much for freedom of thought and freedom of the press.

Posted: Jun 15 2007, 11:29 AM

206222 You know, the next time you people want to rip on the republican party, the government, or any organized group about the suspension of liberties, I want you to think of one thing:

Think about how you all also just can't wait to force the christian groups in the country to adhere to your believes, and how you certainly don't mind trying to silence their beliefs, even though this country was founded on RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. And no, that asshat who was being a lousy christian and made you cry doesn't give you the right to in turn take it out on all christians by advocating the violation of freedom of religion in their regard.

A bunch of hypocrites, the lot of ya.

Posted: Jul 09 2007, 12:50 PM

2077 I was recorded by pa trooper warnick in towanda, pa without
any notification , until the vehicle stop was over and I as told.
so did he break the law... how do you find out..?

joe dupont

Posted: Jul 20 2007, 1:53 AM

67159 Laws vary from state to state. I discovered this after reading that the life-long habit of recording all my personal phone calls is a FELONY in many states! I couldn't believe it! Regardless of the law, I still DO record ALL my phone calls. It comes in very handy when someone tries to do a price quote switch on me, or even when a drunk friend calls and later needs proof that he or she made inappropriate comments. So come on over and arrest me, officer!

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 3:49 PM

131216 THEY are trying to pick us off slowly until the weak ones remain.
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