Greenfield police charge LOT’s Beau Davis with “wiretapping”

Dr. Q

Beau Davis, whom I’ve spoken with a few times in the past, recently announced that police in Greenfield, Massachusetts have charged him with “wiretapping” for reasons that are currently unknown to him.

Beau has worked with my friends Adam Mueller and Pete Eyre on their project Liberty On Tour. Last year, prior to starting Liberty On Tour, Adam and Pete were arrested by the Greenfield police and charged with wiretapping for recording themselves trying to bail a friend out of the Franklin County Jail. They thoroughly documented their arrest, court hearings, and other interactions with the Greenfield police at Cop Block and Liberty On Tour with blog posts, legal documents, and, most importantly, videos, some of which were made with Beau’s assistance.

It seems likely that Beau’s wiretapping charge has something to do with the work he did with Adam and Pete during their wiretapping ordeal.

Here’s how Beau described the charges on his new blog which he just launched to raise awareness about his case:

A few days ago, my parents in FL received a letter in the mail from the Trial Court of Massachusetts District Court Department, stating that I needed to be present in court in Greenfield, MA, alleging that I unlawfully wiretapped a member of the Greenfield Police Department on May 20, 2011.  The charge is, as it is written in the letter, “WIRETAP, UNLAWFUL c272 §99(C)(1)”, which is a felony in Massachusetts.  The charge was filed on August 11, 2011.  It is August 21, 2011 and I am just now receiving the letter today from my parents.  The date of the arraignment is September 7, 2011.

I still do not know how Greenfield acquired my parents address back home; I can only speculate at this point.

The court has not stated how I have allegedly committed this offense, so I have nothing to go on at the moment, other than speculation.  Now, why Greenfield, MA is trying this again after they failed to convict my friends Pete Eyre and Ademo Freeman for the same “offense”, I do not know.  This could be to save face or to try and further make an example of one who tries to hold public officials accountable for their actions.  I do not understand their motives as I do not yet know who I’ve apparently hurt in the matter.

— Beau Davis, “The Letter That Came In The Mail,” 5 Years For Filming a Cop, August 21, 2011

As I’ve discussed on this blog numerous times before, the Massachusetts wiretapping statute only prohibits the creation of “secret” audio-recordings. Unless a prosecutor can show that Beau “secretly” recorded the police, (by, for instance, hiding a recording device in his pocket), then it’s unlikely that he will be convicted of wiretapping.

But even if Beau did openly record the police, it’s still likely that his charge will go to trial. When Adam and Pete were arrested for wiretapping, they held their cameras in plain sight and made it clear that they intended to record the police, but that didn’t stop Northwestern Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Bengston from prosecuting them nor did it stop Judge William F. Mazanec III from refusing to dismiss their bogus charges.

As soon as more information about Beau’s case becomes available, I’ll post an update.

5 Responses to “Greenfield police charge LOT’s Beau Davis with “wiretapping””

  • Bill Bry Says:

    What the hell is wrong with Greenfieldistan PD? Why would Greenfield people, and more importantly, the children of these cops want secret government? Secret government activities ALWAYS go bad.

  • Bill Bry Says:

    See how F’d up the GPD is by doing this. Hasn’t their “taxpayers” suffered enough losses already by the actions of the “peace officers” there? HELLO Greenfield, SECRET GOVERNMENT IS NAZI!!

    The First Amendment issue here is, as the parties frame it, fairly narrow: is there a constitutionally protected right to videotape police carrying out their duties in public? Basic First Amendment principles, along with case law from this and other circuits, answer that question unambiguously in the affirmative.

    It is firmly established that the First Amendment’s aegis extends further than the text’s proscription on laws “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” and encompasses a range of conduct related to the gathering and dissemination of information. As the Supreme Court has observed, “the First Amendment goes beyond protection of the press and the self-expression of individuals to prohibit government from limiting the stock of information from which members of the public may draw.” …

    The filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police officers performing their responsibilities, fits comfortably within these principles. Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting “the free discussion of governmental affairs.”

  • Maat Says:

    This shit’s starting to get infuriating. Maybe it’s time to hammer out some lawsuits, maybe look into USC 241/242 as well. Hardball can be met with harderball.

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