Thursday, July 21, 2011

Man Made Famous Over 2006 Arrest For Videotaping Police... Arrested Again While Videotaping Police

Man Made Famous Over 2006 Arrest For Videotaping Police... Arrested Again While Videotaping Police
We've discussed multiple times how police have been increasingly abusing wiretapping laws to arrest and charge people who film them in public. The arrests are simply an intimidation technique against those who wish to provide public oversight of law enforcement. One of the first high profile cases of such an arrest came back in 2006 when Michael Gannon was arrested under wiretapping charges for filming police with a security camera. In that case, Gannon was arrested after bringing the tape to the police station to use the footage to file a complaint concerning how detectives acted in coming to get his son. It was clearly a vindictive charge against Gannon for daring to report on the police. Of course, eventually it came out that the complaint Gannon wished to file against the detective was completely justified... and the case against Gannon was dropped.

Of course, Gannon likely now has a bit of a reputation with police in Nashua, and Slashdot points us to the news that Gannon's been arrested again, and once again, his videotaping of police has become part of the story.

The details are a bit confusing and involve a lot of disagreements between police and Gannon -- though Gannon has witnesses who appear to back up his claims. As far as I can tell, the events involved: (1) Police drove by Gannon and yelled something about his son. (2) Gannon responded with a definite wisecrack: "There goes corruption at its finest." (3) The police stopped and confronted Gannon. (4) Gannon apparently asked if he was being arrested, and was originally told no, so he turned to walk away. (4) At this point the police tackled him, maced him, handcuffed him, punched him and kicked him. (5) As he was being tackled, he tossed the video camera to someone on the street who was witnessing the whole confrontation, Pamela Reynolds. (6) Reynolds claims she wanted nothing to do with any of this, and immediately tossed the camera that was thrown to her into the bushes right next to her, just as a way of showing she had nothing to with any of it. (7) Police arrested Reynolds (and maced her as well) for (get this) "falsifying evidence," in tossing the camera.

Police, obviously, dispute parts of this chain of events. They claim that Gannon was resisting arrest. They also claim that Reynolds "fled" with the camera and refused to hand over "the evidence" to them when asked. One would hope that the actual video on the camera would confirm which one was right, but it seems pretty bizarre and questionable that the police would immediately seek to seize the camera as "evidence." Why would they do that unless the camera shows them doing something wrong?

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