Rockville Copwatcher Arrested For Videotaping

Published On February 20, 2013 | By | Articles, Videos

This video and write up are from a member of Rockville Copwatch who was recently arrested for videotaping police stops.

I was on my way home from work when I noticed a cop pulling people over for making a right turn when it’s not allowed (4-6pm M-F). I’ve uploaded a previous video where I had a conversation with one officer that was stationed to do the same thing. I go around the block and park about 100 feet ahead of where the cop had someone pulled over. I turned off the car and observed, without recording. After the cop finished with the original stop, they turned and saw another car violating the sign. They turn again, pulling the second car over. This time, however, it’s right in front/diagonal of my car, blocking me in. I start the recording after a second officer pulls up (directly on the side of my car) and suspect that he’ll make contact with me. After being pulled from the car and sitting for almost an hour, they finally decide to charge me with “Obstructing”.

If you want to call and ask why their officers are so uninformed about simple law and procedure, the info is: Woman cop is J. Dyer, male cop is Johnson; I don’t know the first initial. I’ve been told they don’t use badge numbers but I’ve never actually noticed whether that’s true. They work out of the 4th District for the Montgomery County PD in MD.

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About The Author

Jacob Crawford is a long time Copwatcher based out of the Bay Area in California. He joined Berkeley Copwatch in 2000 and produced the first ever "in the streets" non-dramatized know your rights video "These Streets Are Watching". He has been a contributor for for several years and currently is running with other Copwatchers.
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  • William J Beard

    I live in Rockville…. I know those mutherfuckers!!!The male pig gave me a fake speeding ticket once!
    Let me know If I can help / join the Montgomery county cop watch!

  • William J Beard
  • Glenn

    One of the flaws inherent in most activist groups is our failure to gather evidence properly. This has as much to do with the tools available as our tactics. After I initiated a lawsuit against a federal agency 2 years ago, I made a decision to never leave my house without a hidden camera running. Doing so has provided me with some excellent evidence, including an employees at the federal building calling me a “scab” by the elevators. He did so because he assumed there would be no way for me to document his actions. He was wrong. The moral of the story is, petty fascists always step over the line sooner or later. The key is to be there when it happens, with the proper gear.


    When you see common sense, t., underoath, psosgt and all the other shills spew their boot-licking propaganda here on Cop Block, remember, THIS IS WHO THEY ARE, THIS IS WHAT THEY STAND FOR, AND THIS IS WHAT THEY DEFEND!

    Wichita KS police officer Officer Joseph T. McGill, 28, was convicted today of committing a sexual act on a 3-month-old child and a 1-year-old child. Officer McGill pleaded guilty in January 2012 in an unrelated case to sexual battery while on duty as a police officer and was sentenced to three years probation. Those charges stemmed from separate incidents in November 2010 and February 2011. The judge set sentencing for March 1. —

  • t.

    Glenn: You’re a known liar, are you a “scab” too?

    With absolutely no idea or knowledge about Maryland law….the guys implicates himself. Read his post and then listen to what he says (funny how the video part doesn’t start right away now isn’t it?). Sounds like he was seditiously audio recording. Maybe the case he speaks means its OK. But the statute he speaks sure sounds like he is committing a crime. Every way.

  • Chris

    More stupid COPS just like you t.! We “citizens” have the right to video/audio record our public servants which includes “stupid COPS”. This was put into law by the supreme court I believe it was two years ago.

  • Common Ssense


    A ‘fake speeding ticket’ – was it written on Subway napkin?

  • YankeeFan

    Carlos Miller has this story on his site and here is a small excerpt and it references the Graber case and the quote from the judge in that case:

    In 2010, Maryland made national news when police arrested a man named Anthony Graber on felony wiretapping charges for uploading a video of an undercover cop pulling a gun on him during a traffic stop.

    Graber was facing 16 years in prison before Judge Emory A. Pitt Jr. dismissed the case six months later, stating the following:

    “Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public,” the judge wrote. “When we exercise that power in public fora, we should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation.”

    It would appear he brok no law when it came to recording and wiretapping laws were meant to shield citizens from government not prevent citizens from recording police in public and the Court of Appeals for the 1ST US Circuit has already spoken on the constitutionality of recording police!!

    A link to the story:

  • 1605

    Some cops in for refresher training. Roll that window up, call 911 and wait for a supervisor.

    Good job for having the courage to be on the front line facing the dangerous gang in blue. Those people are deadly serious and every interaction can end in your death. I applaud you for maintaining your composure when the police wouldn’t.

    Public officials in a public place have no expectation of privacy.

  • Dan Sayers

    @t: The cop implicates himself. If the recording was surreptitious then how come the first thing said in the recording is him identifying that he understands he is being recorded?

  • BJ

    Wouldn’t this be a clear case of entrapment? Correct me if I’m wrong but you don’t need anyone’s permission to video and audio record in a public space; but it suddenly becomes illegal if someone enters audio range of your camera by their own volition to tell you that you don’t have their permission to audio record them? If that’s the case, officers are missing a golden opportunity to raise their arrest tallies by simply approaching anyone with a video camera and arresting them on wiretap charges for audio recording them without their permission. Tourist attractions should be their prime hunting grounds.

    This is a clear case of being arrested for video recording police that’s masquerading as an obstruction charge for failing to obey a lawful order when no lawful order should have been given in the first place since the police had no real reason to contact the individual. The only reason the obstruction charge will probably stick is because he failed to hand over his driver’s license while in control of a motor vehicle. But we all know what’s really going on here.

  • t.

    If that’s what it is in Maryland. I dont know. Laws vary state to state.

  • Tom


    What the hell is “seditiously” recording?

    Are you the cop from the video he didn’t understand the meaning of surreptitious either?


    It’s not entrapment because that applies in a different context, but you make an excellent point. If a cop doesn’t want to be recorded then he/she can leave a detained citizen cannot. If a cop says, “I don’t want to be record” a good response is “Then leave.” By approaching a person who is openly recording they’re giving implied consent to be recorded (not that consent is even necessary to record police in public).

  • Chris

    FUCK YOU t. – your an idiot!

  • Wicked Vet

    Typical… Cops should take some time to learn case law if they want to be educated and move forward in this world. Graber vs. Maryland clearly states that it is legal to video/audio record a traffic stop as it is done in public and the police officer has no expectation of privacy. Done, thats easy.

    surreptitious: means in secret You confused it with…
    seditiously: means to cause insurrection against the established order. If you hadn’t misunderstood the word in the first place you might have gotten it right.

  • Lakewood_in_Afghanistan

    So you define recording a traffic stop, something time and time again your side has lost in trying to suppress, as sedition?

    -Crime of creating a revolt, disturbance, or violence against lawful civil authority with the intent to cause its overthrow or destruction. Because it is limited to organizing and encouraging opposition to government rather than directly participating in its overthrow, sedition is regarded as falling one step short of the more serious crime of treason. In the U.S. the display of a certain flag or the advocacy of a particular movement, such as syndicalism, anarchism, or communism, has periodically been declared seditious. More recently, the courts have applied a more stringent test of sedition to ensure that constitutional guarantees regarding freedom of speech are not abridged. See also Alien and Sedition Acts.

    Your GED is showing again…

  • JParr

    @ BJ: I wasn’t opperating the vehicle. It was turned off. That’s why I mentioned that according to the Traffic Code, I was not required to provide I.D.

  • D-tom

    Unbelievable…would not even let him wait for a supervisor…

  • badgeabuse

    @Wicked Vet

    They only know the money maker laws…most only know local codes…

  • courtofpublicopinion

    i can hardly wait, my eyeglass video camera is on its way! smile t!

  • thinkfreeer

    When are you people going to learn to ignore T and Common Sense? Their only interest is to annoy you.

  • Common Sense

    Graber was abit different, there the police executed a warrant and searched his home. This case is one of recording in public.

    Additionally, Rockville is in the 6th State Circuit while Graber took place in the 3rd State Circuit.

    MD statute.

    Elements of Obstructing/Hindering
    This offense in Maryland is a common law crime, meaning the definition of the offense has been passed down by precedent through the courts instead of being codified by statute. The Maryland courts have defined the crime of obstructing/hindering as consisting of four elements, all of which must be met in order for a crime to be committed. The four elements are:
    1. The officer is engaged in the performance of duty. This element is met where the officer is on-duty or otherwise conducting official business and not off-duty.
    2. There is an act or omission of an act which obstructs or hinders the officer in the performance of duty.
    3. The accused has knowledge that the officer is engaged in the performance of duty. If an officer is undercover and not in uniform, that may be a valid defense as the accused may not know that the officer is on duty.
    4. There is intent to obstruct or hinder the officer by the actions of the defendant. This is usually the most difficult element for the State to prove. The prosecution must show that the defendant’s actions amounted to a specific intent to commit the crime–that is, a specific intent to obstruct or hinder the officer from performing his or her duties.

    The actual statute.

    § 9-306. Obstruction of justice.

    (a) Prohibited.- A person may not, by threat, force, or corrupt means, obstruct, impede, or try to obstruct or impede the administration of justice in a court of the State.

    (b) Penalty.- A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or a fine not exceeding $10,000 or both.

    [An. Code 1957, art. 27, § 26; 2002, ch. 26, § 2.]

  • BluEyeDevil



  • Don

    It’s time citizens stopped roaming the streets alone. It’s time Citizens put a game plan together. It’s time we collectivly protect each individual. It’s time we create codes, hand signs, and tactics to counter there unlawful acts. Instead of walking down the street alone, go with groups of 5 people of 5 groups. Bring cameras, and plastic cuffs as well as any non lethal tool you can use for defence.
    If a confrontation occurs, the gorup that is being confronted becomes the Co-operative group, and the reamining 4 become offensive and defensive groups. You make sure that you use your numbers to your advantage. The coop group acts as decoy while the other groups use tactics to overwhelm/neutralize any threats. Even if we must Detain them for a short amount of time. Do you understand what Im saying guys? No more of this limbo, commenting and do nothing about it. We have to take responsibility for ourselves and eachother. It’s time we put ounr heads together, and brainstorm some ideas, tactics, recruitment, structure, codes, etc Whomever wants to join my new Delta group, email me at [email protected]
    The password is DawnofDefense
    You must include the password somewhere to get a response.

  • Wicked Vet

    Hey common how did this guy obstruct the cop from doing his duty?

  • Chris Mallory

    t. is still too gutless to post under his real name. Just like a coward in blue.

    Disarm cops for a safer America.

    All cops lie, all the time.

  • Common Sense


    No sure, I’d like to see the report.

    Of course we never will so all we have to go is on what he said.

    For all I know, no arrest even took place. Was he lodged? or given a misdemeanor ticket? What is under an ordinance or state statute?

  • Wicked Vet

    So common if you only had his story and the video to go by, what would you most likely assert?

  • YankeeFan


    Graber was charged with felony wiretapping which if convicted could have landed him in prison for 16 years for recording a public official who believed he had an expectation of privacy in public. In fact his home was searched after he posted his video on youtube which it looks like a clear attempt to intimidate someone. He was charged with 4 felonies all of them were dismissed in court so I would say his case was not different as he was just another poor bastard who filmed a police officer, embarrassed him and was charged with bullshit crimes.

  • YankeeFan

    In this case, if the person was really interefering then fine but as in most cases they are not. It is also important to note they mentioned wiretapping, which would not have stood up at all since no one has an expectation of privacy in public. To me, that makes this obstructing charge suspect as like most of these types of charges (interference, obstructing, disorderly conduct and etc) are charges police use when no others charges can be used against the person.

    The excerpt taken from the video:

    Johnson: ”I’m asking you a question right now because I believe you’re videotaping, I believe you’re audio recording.”

    Parr: “I am.”

    Johnson: “Ok, you’re not allowed to do that. That’s against the law to audio record without my permission.”

    Parr: “You mean the wiretap statute?”

    Johnson: “Yes …. Step out of the vehicle.”

    Parr: “Am I being detained?”

    Johnson: “You’re being detained right now because you’re audio recording and you’re not supposed to.”

    Sorry, I am not going to buy his bs charge of obstructing when he is not aware that it is legal to audio/video record someone in public!

  • YankeeFan

    Forgot this little sentence about the Graber case:

    The court also threw out the charge of “recording illegal activity” on the grounds that the law was unconstitutional, noting that “the video taping of public events is protected under the First Amendment.”[5]

    This case about graber is all about recording ion public. It seems to be the case that their execution of a search warrant was all about the filming in public.

  • thinkfreeer

    Yep, cops have ZERO defense on recording in public. No wire? No wiretapping! Get used to it motherfuckers.

  • Common Sense

    In Graber, the state didn’t appeal the ruling to the next level, State Court of Appeals. If they did, and lost, then a precedent would have been set. The charges were just dismissed, a judges opinion, the other charges about Graber’s driving continued.

    Without the precedent, the statute of wiretapping still stands, able to be interpretated by other county judges, district and circuit. That’s why Glik matters (1st US court of Appeals) and Graber, in the 3rd Circuit of State Court is not a ‘binding decision’ but rather a ‘judges opinion.’ Now, had this happened in a different county or state, then perhaps the entire case would have gone on.

    Considering that the “Wiretap Act” is still on the books in Maryland and is rather extensive, then he was in violation of the act (all party consent). If the obstruction was him simply not opening the door or presenting ID, then that would be rather weak and I doubt it was be able to ‘meet trial burden’ and be denied/dismissed.

  • Common Sense

    You have to look at the statutes, many say “any communication…” – no need for a ‘wire’ to actually exist.

  • YankeeFan

    The state did not appeal as most likley they would have lost. Trying to prosecute a guy who filmed public servents in public where no one has an expectation of privacy would have looked like malicious prosecution. So far most of these cases are always in favour of the person who filmed as the judges “opinion” is one that is shared by mnost judges thatd rop these charges or juries whoa cquit if they even make it that far, which most do not.

    I found this on a ana rticle about graber:

    Maryland’s wiretap law applies only to audio recordings, so it is just the sound from Graber’s video that is at issue legally. Like 11 other states, Maryland requires all parties to consent before a recording might be made if a conversation takes place where there is a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” (By contrast, Virginia and the District require one party’s consent to a recording.) But is there any expectation of privacy in a police stop? That’s where police and civil libertarians differ.

    You are correct though but there is no doubt had they appealed they would have lost and in the event this had made it’s way to a federal court they would have ruled like every other federal court has ruled so far…that filming police is a right protected under the first amendment and that what the officer said could have been ehard by anyone who had their window down, so no expectation of privace. The law is an old one and needs to catch up with the times and courts seem to recognize this as anyone with an iphone or other device recording in a 2 party state can be technically charged with wiretapping.

    Remember the case of the woman in Illinois who audo recorded a police interview in which she wanted to file a complaint and they were trying to talk her out of filing it. She was charged with wiretapping as in Illinois it was a bonafide law where you needed the officer permission or else. The jury acquitted her. There is no way to tell how a court will go but based on almost all the rulings, Graber would have ended up no different than Glik as wiretapping was not meant to stop citizens from keeping tabs on police!!

  • YankeeFan

    Found this one as well:

    The judge was right to ask how Mr. Graber came into custody. Maryland courts have consistently held that where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy, there is no violation of the wiretapping law. An assistant attorney general confirmed this reading of the law in a letter to the state legislature last year. Mr. Graber’s conversation with the officers giving him a speeding ticket, on a public highway and observed by hundreds of motorists, could not have been in a more public setting. It seems certain that even if Mr. Graber is convicted he will win on appeal and have the verdict thrown out because of the state’s overbroad reading of the wiretapping statute.

  • YankeeFan

    The Marlyand’s Attorney General official take on the wiretapping law:

    Scan down and read at the end the 3 possible outcomes under this law and the first conclusion is the one that would have applied to Graber.

  • YankeeFan

    I meant thrid take not first***

  • Common Sense


    I actually agree with you, I don’t think it would have survived the appeal process so the state didn’t press their luck.

  • YankeeFan

    I also found this well written piece about the maryland wiretapping law. And talks in depth about Graber and the judges ruling and even touches on why they most likley did not appeal as a binding prescendent would have meant no longer being able to apply a law in a manner that even the states AG says should not be applied.

    From the above opinion piece:

    Judge Plitt quoted and referred to Attor­ney Gen­eral Gansler’s let­ter through­out his opin­ion. Despite the deci­sion, this case does not end the mat­ter, since this is merely a state cir­cuit court opin­ion, it is not bind­ing prece­dent; it is also unlikely that the State will appeal the dis­missal since that would risk the cre­ation of bind­ing prece­dent. This leaves open the pos­si­bil­ity that a case like this one can be raised again at a later time and that court could still pos­si­bly rule that police offi­cers have a rea­son­able expec­ta­tion of pri­vacy while on duty, in public.

  • Bob

    WTF. This is insane. PLEASE take the mo-fo cop to court and humiliate him.

  • t.

    YF: I really struggle to understand / get why officers have issues with this myself. Where i work the “wiretapping” laws only require one party to know of the record. Meaning if I’m talking to you….and I know I’m recording…its OK. Same goes for you. We get some camera phone recorders from time to time. Last time I really noticed one was a few months ago when I was sitting in a parking lot working on a crash report…that had just cleared up and out of the parking lot. I noticed this black woman coming out of the store…giving me some dirty look. I keep half an eye on her and see her driving passed me in an SUV filming with her phone. She circles back behind my car making sure to get the number. I looked for it on line under every tag I could think of. I was going show my chief how I got caught working. Very funny.

  • Smiley

    As soon as I heard the marble mouth cops I knew they were going to escalate the issue. These are cops that think they own people, and think that they can control everything we do. Why is it that cops forget they are to protect and serve ? Why are cops so damn stupid ? This video taker was minding his own business. He was being peaceful and was causing nobody any harm. WTF,….why would these marble mouthed dummies want to escalate something that was non of their business. This is the problem with cops today, they actually believe they own society.

    We must all videotape the cops ALL the time and we must change the way they act.

  • YankeeFan


    I do not get it either. It is no big deal but there are some in the law enforcement profession that seem to and all they do is create issues for the city when the indivudial files a lawsuit. It seems like all the time there is a new case working it’s way in the courts over someone being charged with something where the base of what they did was film. If the person interferes thats 1 thing, but just to decide you do not want to be filmed and take unnecessary action against someone its beyond me. In this Graber case, the use of a raid on a guy who had a camera on his helmet that recorded sound was an abuse of power to me. When the states top law enforcement offricials from the top office say thats not how the law should be used, then you know changes need to happen. It is going to reach a point where we will have a national prescedent on this nissue from SCOTUS one day.

    As to the woman who decided to do her james bond surveillance on you, some just feel the need. I do nott film the police. In afct I woul not even know where in my phone iot would be save. I had to have my teend aughter show me how to enable the screen password option

  • Steve H

    There are 12 states that have two party or all party consent laws for wiretapping/eavesdropping. All but one of the states have an exception for “an expectation of privacy”. If you don’t have an expectation of privacy then there is no violation of the law if someone records a communication.

    I find it very hard to believe that leos actually believe that they have an expectation of privacy in public or when detaining someone on govt business.

  • Don

    I have not read the Maryland law to which the police were referring, but I am familiar with Maryland v. Graber. Maryland v. Graber is the direct result of the police erroneously thinking that everything they do is permissible because there is no witness, no evidence. Your record shows that the police you had identified, one Johnson and one J.Dyer, appear to have tampered with you as a witness to their activities to prevent you, as witness, from testifying before the court. I believe tampering and intimidating a witness are both statutory offenses in Maryland, if not under Federal Law. Intimidating a witness under color-of-law is a federal offense. Might I suggest that you contact the judge and the US DOJ through your attorney to notify them that you, as witness to the police activities you indicate you have witnessed, have been intimidated by those same police before you were able to testify in court about the tickets against other motorists at an intersection in Montgomery County, Maryland? It appears to me that you are a witness and, as such, you ought not have been intimidated under color-of-law by the police before testifying about what you observed the police doing to other motorists making right hand turns at an intersection in Montgomery County, Maryland. Possible Defendant Johnson and possible Defendant Dyer appear to have interfered with and intimidated a witness to police activities under color-of-law and in violation of applicable federal civil rights statutes in Montgomery County, Maryland.

  • Don

    It may be that obstruction is the allegation. However, the facts of this matter as reported suggest that the person who recorded the police and then was charged with obstruction after police had stopped other motorists is a witness. As a witness, the person is entitled to be free from tampering or intimidation, both of which he reports he experienced at the hands of two police he identifies by name. It is strongly suggested, therefore, that the witness to police activities who recorded police activities was seen and then subsequently intimidated and tampered with under color-of-law by two of the police involved who also ticketed other motorists in Montgomery County, Maryland. Mind you, tampering or intimidating a witness, particularly under federal color-of-law code(s) is a felony, to which the police named ought to answer in court after being named as defendants.