"Two Free State Project activists were arrested in Weare some months ago for video recording a police traffic stop at the middle school and a police officer in the lobby of the police station. Wiretapping charges were later dropped, but the activists are still fighting to have their cameras returned.
But the question remains, why were they charged with wiretapping in the first place?
According to state law RSA 570-A it is illegal to record someone without their knowledge – on business or commercial property. Both instances of recording, however, took place on public property – first a public middle school, then the police station.
Video recording something on public property is no different than the media taking pictures on public property without consent, which is perfectly legal.
According to RSA 570-A:4, any device used in violation of this wiretapping law may be seized. But if the charges were dropped, why are the cameras still in police custody? These cameras need to be returned to their rightful owners.
Police Chief Gregory Begin said the cameras are being withheld due to a possible indictment from the Attorney General’s Office. Given that Begin’s department has dropped the wiretapping charges, we think it’s unlikely the AG will prosecute this matter further.
This entire incident seems like nothing more than a case of bullying by Weare police. Police are public servants here to protect the public, not to act like a bunch of boorish stormtroopers.
- Editorials published by Neighborhood News Inc. are written by an editorial board."http://goffstownnews.com/goffstown-news/2010/10/21-opinion.html