Citing a 2,000-year-old Roman quote, “Who will watch the watchers?” a Harford County, Md., judge skeptically questioned prosecutors Friday pressing criminal charges against a motorcyclist for recording his traffic stop and posting the video on the Internet, reports the Baltimore Sun. Circuit Judge Emory A. Plitt Jr. said he would rule on whether the case against Anthony Graber can proceed to trial, but he acknowledged that appeals courts have not ruled on the issue and that “we are on unplowed ground.”
The judge referenced the videotaped beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles, the proliferation of surveillance cameras and the ease with which virtually anybody can quickly snap pictures and record events and self-publish with a click of a button. Harford County prosecutor Joseph Cassilly has already gone on radio to debate the merits of the case with an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union. The conflict arises from a March 5 stop by a plainclothes state trooper who pulled Graber over after watching him speed through traffic topping 100 mph and pass several cars on one wheel with his motorcycle. Graber had been wearing a camera attached to his helmet to record his ride. Five days later, after seeing the encounter –video and audio – posted on YouTube, state police obtained a search warrant and raided Graber’s house.