Pennsylvania photographer Jason Macchioni was taking photographs from a bridge in Elizabethtown the other night for a time-lapsed video, which naturally got the cops thinking he would then try to blow up the bridge or something.
One cop, Northwest Regional Police Officer Charles Tobias, pulled up and demanded to know what he was doing, not seeming to understand the terms “time sequence.”
Tobias then began demanding Macchioni’s identification, which he refused to hand over because he was not committing a crime.
Then another Northwest Regional cop named Harry Cleland pulled up, noticed Macchioni was video recording them, so he started threatening to arrest him on wiretapping charges.
The idiot cop apparently is unaware of that provision in the law that says he can be recorded if he doesn’t have an expectation of privacy.
Macchioni turned the camera off rather than spend the night in jail even though he was right.
But now he has gotten the ACLU involved who have filed a complaint with the department.
This is how he explains it on Youtube:
I was shooting a time-lapse which I’m still working on, I arrived at this site around 9 and was there for about 3 hours until these two cops rolled up! At first I was calm and refused to give ID, After the second cop was breathing down my neck and really threatening me. I gave in and tried to get them to leave. Then stuff got heated.
The first officer (Charles Tobias) was nice but just couldn’t grasp what I was doing after 4 explanations, He started to become angry when backup arrived, I guess so his fellow cop knew he was tough and could handle me? I gave him my ID even though I knew I didn’t have to, to try to make them leave asap, After the second cop (Cleland) notice I was recording become very upset, I guess he doesn’t like evidence when he breaks laws and infringes on a citizens rights. He also told me his dash cam and microphone was NOT on. Which I think you must have that on a call like this?
Officer (Harry Cleland) starting saying off camera that “if he wanted to hurt me he would have just came up and did it and stomped my phone and beat me up if he wanted too”. I told the officers I wanted to record to protect my self cause a lot of people being “mistreated” by the police. The officer (Celand) said well that’s mostly the “blacks” fault, People getting beat up.
He does not know Pa Wiretapping laws at all and my right to record! I have run into this cop before, I was shooting a car accident and this cop said ‘If you don’t leave, I’m going to confiscate your camera”. So now I know he has a record of violating citizens rights!
After the video stops, He (Cleland) went on a rant about people recording cops and thinking “they” know the law and about him thinking “black people are the problem, cause of drugs and crime”. They left I took a breath and checked my phone, My heart sank further knowing it didn’t catch-all of it. It did catch one thing, Him (Cleland) threatening to arrest me for recording him. Which is against the law, harry cleland
These Cops need to learn the law when it comes to photographers, and I can’t wait for my public apology.
Both Officers are from Northwest Regional Police Dept. Their website can be found here if you would like to send them some emails! http://northwestregionalpolice.org/Officers.htm
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