August 27, 2010
When police arrested Anthony Graber for speeding on his motorbike, the 25-year-old probably did not see himself as an advocate for police accountability in the age of new media.
But Graber, a sergeant with the Maryland Air National Guard, is now facing 16 years in prison, not for dangerous driving, but for a Youtube video he posted after receiving a speeding ticket.
The video, filmed with a camera mounted on Graber’s motorcycle helmet designed to record biking stunts rather than police abuse, shows a plain clothes officer jumping out of an unmarked car and pointing a pistol at the motorcyclist.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
It does not portray the policeman in a positive light.
After he posted the video on Youtube, police raided Graber’s home, seized computers and put him in jail.
“The case is critical to the protection of democracy because I don’t think you can have a free country in which public officials are able to criminally prosecute people who film what they are doing,” David Rocah, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union in Maryland who is representing Graber, said.