Journalist faces 21 years in prison for reporting on police abuse in New Hampshire high school
An online journalist could face 21 years in prison on wiretapping charges, reported the Huffington Post. Adam “Ademo” Mueller, journalist and founder of the police accountability website CopBlock.org, was charged with three felony counts of wiretapping after recording conversations with a police officer, high school principal, and school secretary without their consent in Manchester, New Hampshire.
In October 2011, a video appeared on CopBlock.org showing 17-year-old Frank W. Harrington being lifted from his seat in the West High School cafeteria and slammed face-first into a table following a dispute between Harrington and his sister, reported the Union Leader newspaper. Harrington’s friend Michael Proulx filmed the altercation on his phone. School officials approached Proulx afterwards and demanded he delete the footage, the student said in the CopBlock video, according to the Union Leader. Instead, Proulx deleted a photo and passed the video of the arrest on to Mueller’s website.
In response to the arrest, Mueller called the police department and school for comment. Mueller is accused of not informing the Manchester police captain, or the West High principal and secretary, that he was recording them. The Union Leader reported that, according to New Hampshire law, "it is a crime to audio-record someone without his permission if the speaker has a reasonable expectation that what he is saying is not subject to interception." Mueller countered that he identified himself as a member of the media and that the conversations were on the record, according to Opposing Views. He later included sound bites of the recordings in a video post, reported the Huffington Post. The journalist’s trial is set to begin Monday, Aug. 13, reported the Union Leader.
Recording police officers at work has recently led to several conflicts between journalists and law enforcement. A freelance photographer was arrested for shooting an arrest in New York on Aug. 4. A Memphis journalist was similarly charged for recording an arrest on his cell phone, and a citizen was threatened with arrest for filming an arrest in in Baltimore, Maryland.
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