I Don’t Think That Word Means What You Think It Means (Update and Bump)

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Mr. Henderson now has the assistance of a lawyer.

Man who was charged after recording deputies has free lawyer

A private attorney working with the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota has agreed to represent a Little Canada man whose video camera was taken from him by a sheriff’s deputy.

I’d expect a quick dismissal of charges and an offer to settle the inevitable civil suit.

As the saying goes, “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes”.

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ORIGINAL STORY

Just channeling Inigo Montoya here for a minute. I was originally going to title this post, “Not clear on the concept”, but I like this title better.

Here is what I am talking about.

 

Little Canada man videotaped sheriff’s deputies, and got charged for it

 

Andrew Henderson watched as Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies frisked a bloody-faced man outside his Little Canada apartment building. Paramedics then loaded the man, a stranger to Henderson, into an ambulance.

Henderson, 28, took out his small handheld video camera and began recording. It’s something he does regularly with law enforcement.

But what happened next was different. The deputy, Jacqueline Muellner, approached him and snatched the camera from his hand, Henderson said.

“We’ll just take this for evidence,” Muellner said. Their voices were recorded on Henderson’s cellphone as they spoke, and Henderson provided a copy of the audio file to the Pioneer Press. “If I end up on YouTube, I’m gonna be upset.”

I know that many police and even some EMS and fire personnel don’t like to be filmed or photographed while at work. Personally, it’s never bothered me because I don’t make a habit of doing stuff I don’t want to be photographed or filmed. Which is pretty much how you have to work in the 21st century with every camera having a phone attached to it. Or is it the other way around? No matter, you get the point.

Depute Mueller not only made a questionable move in confiscating (some would say stealing) Henderson’s phone, but because she’s a police officer her comment about being upset could be construed as a threat.

In an incident with so much stupidity attached to it, it’s hard to pick out one act as the most stupid. Still, I think this is in fact the most moronic act of all in this farce.

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.”

Yes, she’s quoting HIPAA, or rather misquoting HIPAA as part of his illegal activities. At least she spelled it correctly, which is more than many people who DO fall under HIPAA can manage. Unfortunately for the deputy, Henderson is NOT a covered entity or person under HIPAA as he’s not a medical practitioner, does not work for one, and has access to privileged medical information on the patient. Whom he didn’t even know.

My expectation is that the charges against Henderson will be dropped, as they should. In fact they already should have been. I think at this point the county is going to try to coerced Henderson into agreeing not to sue their pants off in exchanged for them not pressing the charges. If he’s smart, he won’t do that. Sadly here is some evidence that he might not be,

Henderson works as a welder and does not qualify for a public defender. He is representing himself in court.

The legal term for that is “pro se”, which loosely translated means “Fool is going to represent himself in court.” It rarely ends well for the lawyer/client. My fervent hope is that some lawyer in the Ramsey County area reads this article and offers to represent Henderson in exchange for the right to represent him in the inevitable civil suit.

Public employees have got to learn that the public has a right to observe and film us doing our jobs. Several police officers have already learned this because they were sued in federal court and lost. Apparently several more are going to have to be sued and lose before this crpp stops.

4 COMMENTS

  1. My fervent hope is that some lawyer in the Ramsey County area reads this article and offers to represent Henderson in exchange for the right to represent him in the inevitable civil suit.

    Got it in one. There’s probably some attorneys drooling over this case. Hell, some will probably take it pro bono for the publicity and because it’s such an obvious abuse of authority.

  2. I’ve only thrown a photographer off a scene once – he was walking into an active LZ to try to take pictures of a mostly-naked accident victim. I had some pretty hot words with the paper’s editor when he called asking for information; they never called again.

    • An act which clearly jeopardizes the safety of the patient, response personnel, or even the photographer is a rare exception to the rule. Other than that, there’s nothing that can or should be done.

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