Thanks to reader Chapter&Verse we get a Pioneer Press article which talks about how the Little Canada Police Department claimed a citizen watchdog’s camera was “evidence” following his recording of an incident where the officer claimed she did not want to end up on the Internet. Unfortunately for the officer her desire was not only irrelevant, it was illegal, especially when the officer allegedly destroyed the video on the camera after it was seized.
From the article:
The day after Henderson’s camera was taken Oct. 30, he went to the Arden Hills sheriff’s substation to get it back.
A week later, Henderson was charged with obstruction of legal process and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. He had been filming from about 30 feet away, he said. Henderson said deputies gave him no warning before Muellner took his camera.
The deputy wrote on the citation, “While handling a medical/check the welfare (call), (Henderson) was filming it. Data privacy HIPAA violation. Refused to identify self. Had to stop dealing with sit(uation) to deal w/Henderson.”
Henderson went back to the sheriff’s office in mid-November to get a copy of the report and try once again to retrieve his camera. Deputy Dan Eggers refused to give him either. He pulled Henderson aside.
“I think that what (the deputies) felt was you were interfering with someone’s privacy that was having a medical mental health breakdown,” Eggers said, as heard on another recording Henderson made. “They felt like you were being a ‘buttinski’ by getting that camera in there and partially recording what was going on in a situation that you were not directly involved in.”
Beck, representing Little Canada, said Tuesday that any allegation that Henderson’s video was deleted is false.
Kirtley said the seizure and alleged erasure of the recorded material “raises significant Fourth Amendment issues for him …The seizure here was not to preserve the evidence — it was to destroy the evidence.”
While it is quite possible Henderson was not recording at the time, it does seem far more likely that the officer, a 30+ year veteran of the force, deleted the file. Even if that were not the case, the seizure of the camera and the reasons provided are not only malarky but also out and out illegal. Officers need to be made better aware of the laws as they have always existed and how their role as public safety officials allow their actions in public to be recorded and distributed. This sort of nonsense, which happens frequently across the country and even spawns poor, misguided and illegal attempts at mitigation law, needs to stop.
What do you think about this one? Do you believe the officer deleted the video after the camera was confiscated? Do you think this has to do with her time on the force or do you think even new officers would do this? Do you think officers should be better trained in what is and is not illegal? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.