Police

Motorhome Diaries Crew Recover Deleted Video of Police Encounter

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Last May, the crew of the Motorhome Diaries libertarian road tour were arrested in Jones County, Mississippi after a traffic stop. One of the crew, Adam Mueller, was charged with disorderly conduct, though Jones County officials then wavered about what exactly Mueller did wrong. They first said he was arrested for not putting down his video camera when ordered to do so. But it isn't illegal to record police officers in Mississippi. They then said he was arrested for moving from the spot where police officers instructed him to stay.

Mueller recorded most of the encounter, but when his camera was returned to him after he was released from jail the video had been deleted. He has since been able to recover the video, which he walks you through in the video below. The video is choppy and fragmented, a result both of Mueller's holding it during a traffic stop and the fact that it has since been deleted and recovered. Mueller says the recovered video shows the deputies lied about a number of aspects of the stop and subsequent arrests. You can watch and see whether or not you agree with him.

But here's what now is indisputable: Mueller took video of the traffic stop, and that video—evidence in both the county's case against Mueller and Pete Eyre and in their lawsuit against the county—was deleted while Mueller's camera was in the possession of the Jones County Sheriff's Department. I'm no lawyer, but I'm fairly sure that's destruction of evidence. And I'm fairly sure it's a crime. And it seems to me it's a much more serious crime than anything Mueller or Eyre are alleged to have done.

The question is, will Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge investigate, and will the person who deleted the video be charged?

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  1. I remember this story. I’m very glad to hear they were able to recover the video, even if it isn’t perfect. That’s what’s good/bad about files like this: deleting them usually doesn’t actually erase much of anything; it just frees the space to be used for other data. If there’s any justice (ha!) some cops should be going down for this.

    1. A couple of anarchists versus a Mississippi police officer, which way do you think it will turn out?

      1. I saw this movie ages ago. Dennis Quaid tossed a big magnate through a store window and it ended up next to the video in the evidence room. Seems too early for a remake.

        1. What good would come of throwing “a person of great influence, importance, or standing in a particular enterprise, field of business, etc.” through a window? Now if he thrown a “magnet” it might have erased the tape. Also when did police start holding evidence in stores with large windows?

          1. “What good would come of throwing “a person of great influence, importance, or standing in a particular enterprise, field of business, etc.” through a window?”

            You know how Hollywood feels about capitalist swine.

            1. Moguls never mixed well with magnates.

  2. On the Friday link Balko Donkey punch scale this about a 6.5 out of 10, for which I am grateful.

    I still can’t applaud Mr. Balko enough about the Corrie Maye case though, that is just some amazing work for which he deserves more critical acclaim.

    But I suppose you don’t get the good stories without the donkey punch. At least no dogs were shot in this one.

    1. The msm simply doesn’t think innocent until proven guilty is something worth reporting on. We have Paris Hilton’s underwear status, Dancing with the Stars voting, helicopter views of car chases, all of which get better ratings…uh, I mean that are more newsworthy.

  3. I’m no lawyer, but I’m fairly sure that’s destruction of evidence.

    Yes, it is. The worst of it is that the malicious act can be proven, as there is clear evidence of the act since the user had to recover the recording from deletion.

    Now, will anybody be prosecuted for this? Don’t hold your breath – the government leeches protect their own.

    1. What’s more important for the Justice Department? Running interference for their bosses for WikiLeaks or trying to clean up government corruption?

      1. Is this a trick question?

        1. Not really. Holder is probably waiting a little while before he comes in and charges Mueller for being part of a militia.

      2. I don’t think that even I’d argue that the DoJ would actually be more likely to do the right thing here if they weren’t busy with Wikileaks. Cops going after people with video cameras is *far* too far down on their list of priorities.

  4. Just to be clear: when the police deleted that video, they destroyed evidence that the defense could have/intended to introduce as part of a defense in a criminal trial.

    That is very, very serious – not just violation of the law, but a civil rights violation.

    will the person who deleted the video be charged?

    If by charged, you mean commended, I suspect so, yes.

    1. Perhaps promoted.

      1. Nah, he did a crappy job of deleting. That doesn’t rate a promotion, just a commendation.

        Like if he had taken a shot at a puppy, and missed. You gotta like the attitude, but to actually get a bump in grade, you need to put lead on the target.

        1. Nahh… you just need to show that if you’re not promoted it will be seen as disapproval of the abuses. You can’t tell me that there is a history of not promoting incompetent police officers.

    2. Oh c’mon. The officer was just trying to view the recording when in his unfamiliarity with the camera controls he accidently deleted it.

  5. “The question is, will Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge investigate, and will the person who deleted the video be charged?”

    No and no.

    1. Other burning questions: “Do bears shit in the Vatican?” “Is the Pope Buddhist?” “Are there monkeys flying out of my butt?”

      1. Will a stable come with the pony I’m getting for Christmas?

      2. Of course the Pope’s not a Buddhist; he’s a Nazi.

        1. Either way justifies a swastika motif, I guess.

      3. Answers: No, No, Yes.

        Suggestion: Next time, pay attention to the “occasional, severe side effects” section of the literature that comes with those anti-anxiety meds you are taking!

    2. Drats. Beat me to it.

  6. I’ll say it again. Need to wire the van with a hidden backup.

    1. Depending on the jurisdiction, see you at the grand jury!

      1. Wiring the inside of a home is legal. There is no expectation of privacy on my premises. Post a sign to void the expectation and you should be fine.

        1. Beware:

          http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2006/07/11/5963/

          A city man is charged with violating state wiretap laws by recording a detective on his home security camera, while the detective was investigating the man’s sons.

          Michael Gannon, 49, of 26 Morgan St., was arrested Tuesday night, after he brought a video to the police station to try to file a complaint against Detective Andrew Karlis, according to Gannon’s wife, Janet Gannon, and police reports filed in Nashua District Court.

          Police instead arrested Gannon, charging him with two felony counts of violating state eavesdropping and wiretap law by using an electronic device to record Karlis without the detective’s consent.

  7. Good thing for idiot cops who don’t know how deletion actually works.

  8. Good grief – can you not remember what I have told you? When the police destroy evidence its OK. And those pesky rules about no man being above the law do not apply to police.
    geez.

  9. I would love to hear Dumphy’s comment.

    1. The department has limited funds to train its officers. They have to spend those funds their new state of the art CQB entry gallery. To help them with drug raids. They don’t have enough money to train their officers in civil liberties, that’s the prosecutors problem.

      1. “CQB entry gallery” = LOL!

  10. The question is, will Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge investigate, and will the person who deleted the video be charged?

    I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.

  11. The question is, will Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge investigate, and will the person who deleted the video be charged?

    See, here is the evidence that Radley is less cynical than I am, even after all of the kick-in-the-balls reporting he’s done day in and day out:

    He still asks this question, even if it’s just rhetorically.

    Me, I assume the answer is No and I start in with the profanity.

  12. Where ya’ come off talkin’ ’bout rights, son? I got yer rights right here. Ya’ see on here where it say .40 S&W?

  13. So, what recourse does someone have if they have clear evidence of a crime and the prosecutor doesn’t feel like prosecuting, and it’s fairly plausible that this is due to government corruption?

    1. In theory, the FBI is the next step. Of course, they’re busy going after Wikileaks, so civil rights violations may have to wait.

      1. Wikileaks? What’s that? Why hasn’t there been any posts about it?

        1. You spelled 4Loko wrong.

          1. M-O-S-Q-U-E

            1. M-O-U-S-E!

      2. Of course, they’re busy going after Wikileaks, so civil rights violations may have to wait. entrapping 19-year-old Somali kids. You know the reports indicate that the FBI started “grooming” this kid when he was just 17.

    2. “Thank you, sir, may I have another.”

    3. A .338 Lapua mag with decent optics, a little practice, and a long evening waiting

      1. Lapua mags are about $8/bullet right now. .30-06 ought to do it for much cheaper.

        1. I’d prefer to ensure what I hit disintegrates and the extra yardage has its advantage. You can also silence the .338 much better than the monster .50 BMG.

          I agree .30-06 would be more economical, but the happy middle between .50 BMG and .270 is the .338 for me.

          1. Fine. Pay extra if you like.

            1. I know what it costs.

              Hell two years ago you couldn’t find large primers for reloads for anything less than 3X what they cost a year prior. Maybe I’ve just become conditioned to high prices for ammo.

              1. You should add the chiropractor bill to the cost of the round.

        2. I’d go 7.62x54R. While the 30.06 leaves a lot of rifles that the round could have come from, you can get a mosin-nagant for between 100-150 in most gun stores. Add another 30-40 bucks for a decent scope. That way you can ditch/destroy the rifle without having dumped too much money into the project. Not to mention the fact that the police will probably be looking for a Dragunov initially. If I had a Springfield ’03 or M1 Garand that I had to destroy lest it be used as evidence against me, I’d be heart-broken.

          1. Are you implying that a PSL is more common than a MN, which only cost a hundred dollars?

            1. Not necessarily. I assume that the cops would be looking for some Dragunov (or variant) because it’s a “scary” looking weapon, allowing the media to write all kinds of “this is why we need gun control” stories. This may not a legitimate assumption, but think of all the panic about tec-9’s and mac-10’s in the 80’s and 90’s. It may be more an assumption about the media than the police then.

    4. This is why ye olde english system was better, at least in some ways.

      Want to prosecute someone? Drag them before a grand jury and do it. Anyone who wants to take the time to do it can be a prosecutor.

      A mixed system would probably be best.

  14. What, you can’t hire a private attorney to file a denial of civil rights lawsuit? Mississippi is crawling with tort injury lawyers, you’d think one of them might take this case.

    1. Thats not criminal.

      I want someone to go to jail for a long stretch of time.

  15. Badges? We don’t need no stinkin badges!

  16. Take it to civil court and bankrupt the county. Make the taxpayers pay for the stupidity of their officials.

    1. Right on! If the LP wanted to be useful, it would recruit a stable of lawyers in every state that could handle cases like these.

      1. The ACLU has millions of $$ to handle cases like this. They should probably use it.*

        *my gripe with the ACLU is they don’t take on cases that I personally feel are important, so they don’t get my 4 anymore, but they’re certainly one of the most powerful legal enities in the country and they should use their muscle here.

    2. I want the officials who actually did this to pay. I want them dragged out of their house when it’s forcibly auctioned off. Preferably, force these evil people’s children to watch their parents be dragged out of the houses too.

  17. This is early in the morning – about 9am ish

    REally?? 9 AM is early?!??

    1. In a cross country road trip? It’s possible for 3pm to be early depending on the previous evenings adventures.

  18. In theory, the FBI is the next step.

    In the Dean Administration, the FBI would be retasked to focus primarily on government officials at all levels (each Congresscritter would have an agent assigned full-time), and violations of civil rights by state, local, and federal law enforcement.

    1. Dean Administration?

      HYEEE-AWWWH!!!

      1. I was afraid he meant John Dean.

  19. “I’m no lawyer, but I’m fairly sure that’s destruction of evidence.”

    Correct.

    “And I’m fairly sure it’s a crime.”

    Again correct.

    “And it seems to me it’s a much more serious crime than anything Mueller or Eyre are alleged to have done.”

    Unquestionably.

    “The question is, will Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge investigate,”

    He will loudly “open a file,” then quietly close it.

    “and will the person who deleted the video be charged?”

    No: He will promptly be appointed to the bench (assuming, of course, that he’s donated to all the right people).

    1. He’ll do what they always do – decline to comment on an open investigation. Then, it will fade into obscurity never to be heard about again.

  20. Possible Threadjack:

    Does anyone have an update on the case where activists wired a house for video and then installed some grow lights around a shrub?

    The house was empty except for the lights and shrub and later on a swat team raided it. I believe it occurred in Texas.

    1. You’re probably looking for the Kop Busters saga and Barry Cooper.

  21. This thread has my ‘Jaded and Cynical about the Justice System’ meter pegged solidly in the ‘You’re right at home with these people’ category.

  22. FYI – the trial testimony was filmed on Wed. (against the DA’s wishes) and is now being edited into a vid by Adam. That should be up soon at: http://copblock.org

  23. ot putting down his video camera when ordered to do so. But it isn’t illegal to record polic

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