Last summer Ademo and I were arrested outside the Franklin County Jail. We had traveled to Greenfield, MA, where the jail is located, to bail out a friend. Together, we now face eight charges including felony wiretapping, despite the fact that we were filming in the open in plain view, which does not violate the stated legislation:
Wiretapping is defined as: willfully commits an interception, attempts to commit an interception, or procures any other person to commit an interception or to attempt to commit an interception of any wire or oral communication shall be fined not more than ten thousand dollars, or imprisoned in the state prison for not more than five years, or imprisoned in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one half years, or both so fined and given one such imprisonment.
*Note* The term “interception” means to secretly hear, secretly record, or aid another to secretly hear or secretly record the contents of any wire or oral communication through the use of any intercepting device by any person other than a person given prior authority by all parties to such communication; provided that it shall not constitute an interception for an investigative or law enforcement officer, as defined in this section, to record or transmit a wire or oral communication if the officer is a party to such communication or has been given prior authorization to record or transmit the communication by such a party and if recorded or transmitted in the course of an investigation of a designated offense as defined herein.
Since then we’ve been trying to get accountability (click here for Greenfield-related content) and the footage from our cameras, which were taken by Todd M. Dodge and are still being held by the Greenfield Police Department.
Last week we traveled back to Greenfield to participate in their monthly Public Safety Commission meeting (see Ademo’s stellar write-up & video). While there we met briefly with Byron D. Caplice, the lawyer assigned to me as “standby counsel” despite my objections (see this video at 3:50min) to obtain the discovery supplied by prosecutor Jeffrey A. Bengston.
Though we didn’t receive any new documents we were given this video recorded on July 1st, 2010:
Here’s an overview of what went down:
- 6:45pm – Todd M. Dodge of the Greenfield Police Department enters the lobby of the Franklin County Jail. Ademo and I had been inside talking with Franklin County Sheriff’s officer Christopher Newbrough and his colleagues for the last 10-15 minutes.
- 6:46pm – Dodge, Ademo and myself emerge, accompanied by Brian Schindler & Jordan Lehtomaki of the Franklin Co. Sheriff’s Office. Our conversation about us filming continues. It’s clear that Ademo (wearing the baseball cap) and I are recording. And we were both wearing Cop Block t-shirts, which depict a camera pointed at a police officer. It’s clear there was nothing “secret” about our actions.
- 6:51pm – Dodge states that if we refuse to move off the property we’ll be arrested for trespassing. We continue recording and explain that we merely want to bail out our friend – something we’ve already been told we can do by Franklin County Sheriff Capt. Leslie Troczynski.
- 6:53pm – Dodge takes Ademo’s property and puts him in handcuffs. Ademo goes limp.
- 6:54pm – Dodge and his Greenfield Police Officer Chad Sumner (who had just pulled-up) drag Ademo to Dodge’s cruiser
- 6:54 – Brian Schindler and Jordan Lehtomaki hold me while Chad Sumner put handcuffs on me. I go limp.
- 6:54pm – Newbrough (who had been working the desk and who we spoke with at length inside) exits the jail
- 6:54pm – Schindler, Lehtomaki and Sumner carry me to Sumner’s cruiser
- 6:56pm – Schindler, Lehtomaki and Newbrough enter jail
For the reports filed by Dodge, Schindler, Lehtomaki and Newbrough and other documents related to this incident, check out this post. For all content related to this incident check out this meta-post.