Man Charged With Wiretapping Shrewsbury (Massacusetts) Police

Published On November 19, 2012 | By CopBlock | Articles

Those who are forced to pay the salaries of law enforcement officers state-sponsored criminals are absolutely justified in recording the actions of said criminals. Public officials have no expectations of privacy. – Kate


The Shrewsbury Daily Voice reports that in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, a Clinton man was arraigned in Westborough District Court Thursday on charges that he illegally recorded a Shrewsbury Police officer and posted the video to YouTube.

Irving Espinosa-Rodrigue, 26, was charged with illegal wiretapping after police said he recorded Shrewsbury Police Officer Vincent Scanlon during a traffic stop on Route 9 in July.

According to officials, Espinosa-Rodrigue repeatedly questioned an officer during a traffic stop and said he couldn’t have been speeding because he had cruise control set at 45.

The officer gave a sarcastic reply, according to records, saying “Yeah, like I’ve got nothing better to do than to stop you.”

The exchange between Espinosa-Rodrigue and Scanlon during the stop was secretly recorded by a female passenger, law enforcement officials said. The recording was in violation of state law, officials said.

Scanlon was later told by another officer that there was a YouTube video entitled “Shrewsbury Police Bad Cops” and showed the traffic stop, officials said.

The beginning of the video showed Espinosa-Rodrigue allegedly instructing the female passenger how to use the recording device.

Espinosa-Rodrigue is scheduled to return to court for a pretrial hearing January 17.


Shrewsbury, Massachusetts Police Department
Phone: 508.845.4681
Email: [email protected]

Patrol Officer Vincent Scanlon
Phone: 508.841.8577
Email: [email protected]

 

 

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  • t.

    And..?

  • Common Sense

    another non incident.

  • http://www.policemisconduct.net Glenn

    Looks like another Glik v. Cuniffe case is in the works.

    And common sense, why didnt you assert that recording devices are more dangerous than nuclear weapons, and anyone using them is automatically with the terrorists?

  • BigPoppaAZ

    @t, and CS

    Hah, …”And..?…another non incident”

    How so, boys? If someone was charged as “The recording was in violation of state law, officials said.” Where is the “and, and another non incident”?

    Gents, either stand up and say BULLSHIT, as we ALL not it is, or move along.

  • http://www.policemisconduct.net Glenn

    BigPoppa, please do not dissuade common sense and the other scrotum-lickers from being trolls. We need them for comic relief and occasional urinals.

  • Jean

    Wiretapping laws are intended to protect US from THEM. Not the other way around. cops have NO expectation of privacy, and recording THEIR actions shouldn’t be an issue.
    PERIOD.

  • Common Sense

    Last time I checked, the statute is still on the books. Lawful arrest.

    And Gilk doesn’t apply, this incident was secretly recorded, not openningly recorded as in Gilk. The court, in other decision(s), also differed in opinion between ‘public’ spaces and a ‘traffic stop.’
    And remember, Gilk clearly states “the right to film is not without limitations. It may be subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions.”

    Sorry hippies, right do have limitations, you lose again.

  • BigPoppaAZ

    @Common,

    You stated earlier that this was “another non incident”. Apparently not. Your assertion that a “traffic stop” is not a public place, is determined upon what grounds?

    Citizens have the right to videotape and audiotape police officers performing official duties in public. It is not a violation of the Wiretap Law to do so. Therefore, all can record an officer during a traffic stop, during an interrogation, or while he or she is making an arrest.

    In follow-up to this specific question, is a good article by Jeff Hermes with the Digital Media Law Project:

    http://www.citmedialaw.org/blog/2012/another-go-round-recording-police-massachusetts

    “Glik also notes that the right to record “may be subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions.” Glik at 84. If the Massachusetts legislature were to pass a law specifically prohibiting recording during traffic stops, it is an open question as to whether such a law would be considered a time/place restriction or survive constitutional scrutiny. For now, no such law exists, and in the absence of such a law the constitutionality of Espinosa-Rodrigue’s arrest for wiretapping is extremely dubious.”

    No hippy here, though Garrett and the ‘fro might be (Big fan of the ‘fro BTW), just an American who believes rights should be exercised, not stunted by the abstract opinion of a man with a badge and a gun.

  • Common Sense

    Always remember, what you think is a ‘right’ and ‘legal’ and what the various levels of the justice system (police/prosecutors/magistrates/court judges/justices) think are sometimes radically different.

  • Jean

    common,
    That’s part of the problem; the law doesn’t have to make sense, or be logical, or even be applied rationally.

    The mythical “Reasonable Person test”: A cop’s life is so HARD, they get guns pointed at them all the time, perform high-risk operations, drive at high speeds regulary, are expected to be everywhere at once, it’s REASONABLE when they abuse their power (take your pick of petty nastiness from here or the headlines.)

    But if the “Average Civilian” is mugged, and beats their mugger to death with whatever was handy, they’ve used “unreasonable force”?

    So, the TRAINED LEO can use deadly force with impunity (we’ve both seen the stories here, youtube, et al), but the AVERAGE CITIZEN – who IS NOT trained, IS NOT used to facing guns, IS NOT used to being in dangerous situations – will go to jail because they grabbed a board and beat their attacker to death?

    You don’t see something wrong here?

    What if the assailant wears a uniform? We BOTH know it’ll be political then – whether the assailant was in or out of uniform no longer matters, “(S)He killed a COP!” [Drunk, off-duty, looking for a fight, found it - doesn't matter, the CIVILIAN is a "Cop Killer." Good luck getting a fair trial anywhere in the country, the media will taint the jury pool across the country.]

    It’s the Golden Rule all over again: “He who has the gold (shield) makes the rules.” It’s great as long as YOU hold the gun, right? Not so much fun when it gets reversed, and somethig like “three strikes” makes it more economical to pull the trigger. (Assaulting an officer, Assualt and Battery, and being behind in Child Support payments will make it three strikes. But dead men tell no tales…

    You want a position of power and respect, EARN IT. Think SEALs, Recon, hell, even SWAT. Respect must be EARNED. And every flatfoot that acts like Napoleon at a traffic stop takes down 10 times the respect one good officer can generate. So, one traffic stop, most people will be anti-cop for life.

    Think about that – not even shoplifting, public intoxication, public nudity, smoking in a non-designated area, name your minor transgression – just something involving a TICKET the cop won’t even remember, and ALL cops are immediately ASSHOLES. Guilt by association.

    And that’s BEFORE we consider what else an adult hears about. Friend of mine was arrested (Dunno why, incidental, he was guilty). He’s in the tank, the duty officer (?) comes over and hollers that arraignment’s about to start. “All you who comitted murder, you KNOW you’re going to be out on the street tonight, so simmer down…”
    WTF? (The Sergeant or whatever was right, too, I’m told.)

    So, let me get this straight: I KILL someone, I’ll likely WALK out the door. Trial at a later date. What about drunk & disorderly, drug posession, DUI, etc? Telling me they will NOT be held, OK, at least there’s parity. Otherwise, all you show is that you’re AFRAID of angering the truly VIOLENT members of society, while you’ll imprison those who do property damage, or NO damage…
    F*ck me, might as well be a violent felon… At least ths cops will mind their own business while they pee their panties.

    We’re back to, Where is that line in the sand? And when do you act?

  • Yankee Fan

    Common,

    You are correct in that it is important to distinguish the two. The courts have already spoken and have said it is not only legal but a right as the 1st US Circuit did. The 7th? ruled in response to the Illinois law that the police were to stop using the law to arrest or infringe on those that record them and other in public and some state court judge ruled their wiretapping law unconstitutional. The Baltimore PD was issued what amounts to 11 pages of guidelines after they crafted their own 6 pages worth on how to handle citizens who record them which was all in response to some 2010 case that gained national scrutiny.

    About 18 months ago there was adrudgereport headline that stated…ACLU REACHES AGREEMENT WITH PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE. It seems they, as well as a few other law enforcement bodies were using the disorderly conduct statute to stop cussing in public. It is a free speech right regardless of the level of rudeness one uses. One woman was cited for cussing at an overflowing toilet when her neighbor, an off duty called the police and another guy gave the finger to a motorist then a cop who told him to not do that. At trial the DA tried to argue he was blocking a lane the judge said no, it was retributiion for someone exercising their free speech rights.

    The point of that last one is to illustrate that it is the ;police that need to understand what is legal and a right as well or they will continue to face lawsuits for violations of citizens rights. The same rights they swore to uphold. You can make any well written arguement you want but the courts have been deciding against law enforcement on these issues by a wide margin which is forcing police all over the counrty to draft guidelines and nchange their policies to reflect this.

  • Jean

    @Common,
    What I was trying to get at is that the law can be fucked up, and people seem to wnat us to be polite little sheep, not to question.
    However, different levels of courts seem to be unable to determine who is right at what time, or which statutes apply – up to and including ignoring the ones they don’t like while enforcing the ones they do.
    Like the old reasoning, a whore can’t be raped. Right?

  • Yankee Fan

    But common is right, this was a secret recording and not openly recorded like Simon Glik did.

    Here is what the judge said in the Graber traffic stop:

    On September 27, 2010, some criminal charges against Graber were dropped.[5] Harford County Circuit Court Judge Emory A Plitt Jr. dismissed four of the seven charges filed against Anthony Graber, leaving only traffic code violations. The judge ruled that Maryland’s wire tap law allows recording of both voice and sound in areas where privacy cannot be expected and that a police officer on a traffic stop has no expectation of privacy.[5]

    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.

    This is how the federal courts will rule most likely based on the current ruling trends!

  • http://www.policemisconduct.net Glenn

    I am amused to know that the defendants during the Glik trial made very similar arguments to the comments of common sense…right before they got hit with a big fat judgement LOL!

    I will be watching this one unfold.

  • James W. Kerr

    There are few things that scare the hell out of organized government corruption. One is making judges responsible for their crimes, like the effort to vote in a constitutional amendment in South Dakota a few years back. Scared the hell out of the judges and their bosses. Another is jury nullification. And stripping grand juries of the right to make presentments–acting on their own without a government prosecutor/handler, when corrupt government officials are the subject of their investigation. They are called “run away grand juries.” And so too, are the “powers that be” afraid of the video recordings of corrupt cops. Most cops are okay, but some are worse than Barnie Fife could dream of being. I think it is a civic duty to record the criminal acts of cops no matter what the government says. It is patriotic. There is nothing they can do about it. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

  • padre

    @Common

    Not sure if the camera was hidden or just not disclosed, but the camera was inside the defendants personal property. Are you suggested that a camera on private property that happens to face a public street is illegal if it doesn’t have lights and a siren on it to warn a cop that its there? BTW, the cop probably didn’t warn the defendant that he was recording, without a warrant. Why not? Because you don’t have to, there is a difference between wiretapping in a place where there is an expectation of privacy and recording in public. That is the fundamental distinction in Glik.

    Do you really want to live in a society where public servants are unwilling to be held accountable in the same way that they hold us accountable (by video)?