Man Charged With Wiretapping Shrewsbury Police

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A Clinton man is facing charges of secretly recording a Shrewsbury officer during a traffic stop. Photo Credit: File

SHREWSBURY, Mass. — A Clinton man was arraigned in Westborough District Court Thursday on charges that he illegally recorded a Shrewsbury Police officer and posted the video to YouTube.

Irving Espinosa-Rodrigue, 26, was charged with illegal wiretapping after police said he recorded Shrewsbury Police Officer Vincent Scanlon during a traffic stop on Route 9 in July.

According to officials, Espinosa-Rodrigue repeatedly questioned an officer during a traffic stop and said he couldn't have been speeding because he had cruise control set at 45. 

The officer gave a sarcastic reply, according to records, saying "Yeah, like I've got nothing better to do than to stop you."

The exchange between Espinosa-Rodrigue and Scanlon during the stop was secretly recorded by a female passenger, law enforcement officials said. The recording was in violation of state law, officials said.

Scanlon was later told by another officer that there was a YouTube video entitled "Shrewsbury Police Bad Cops" and showed the traffic stop, officials said.

The beginning of the video showed Espinosa-Rodrigue allegedly instructing the female passenger how to use the recording device.

Espinosa-Rodrigue is scheduled to return to court for a pretrial hearing Jan 17.

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Comments (11)

John B:

Some quotes from by court case of Glik. Which was decided by the appeals court unanimously.

"[I]s 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."

"Glik filmed the defendant police officers in the Boston Common, the oldest city park in the United States and the apotheosis of a public forum. In such traditional public spaces, the rights of the state to limit the exercise of First Amendment activity are 'sharply circumscribed.'"

"[A] citizen's right to film government officials, including law enforcement officers, in the discharge of their duties in a public space is a basic, vital, and well-established liberty safeguarded by the First Amendment."

"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.'"

The Court also dismissed the suggestion that the discussion of the First Amendment right to record in Iacobucci was too cursory to clearly establish the right. To the contrary, the Court stated that "[t]he terseness implicitly speaks to the fundamental and virtually self-evident nature of the First Amendment's protections in this area."

"Self-evident." The court of appeals actually said "self-evident."

Based upon the above, it is self-evident that recording the police is protected by the first Amendment. Not that the recording is dependent upon the recording device is concealed or in the open.

John B:

A public official working in public wearing a uniform and interacting with the public, in a public area has NO expectation of privacy.
Mass is one of the few states with such a foolish law on the books. The law should disposed of.
The Glick case has talked about the open recording of the police. In this case the camera was hidden. So what. The police has no expectations of privacy.

Freedom should prevail and that Irving Espinosa-Rodrigue should go free.

No Victim No Crime:

Every time I'm detained by the gestapo, I relay they are being audio and video recorded, If they don't like conversations over...PERIOD!!
The Revenue Producers (Police) are in a public setting, there is no expectation of privacy...PERIOD!! All these cases of wire tapping I'm reading about and yet if there really not doing the same thing with the technology...WE PAID FOR, then whats is the purpose much like the cop that that pulled me over friday night alledging I was swerving and did'nt use my turn signal. Wheres the Injured party, why is my ticket for $520, what is his real purpose? Whats the difference between a traffic ticket and extortion??? www.nvnc.org

MikeLowry:

Thank you to all the individuals who can cite cases that do not pertain to this case. First off. Gilk was recording officers IN PUBLIC. The officers in Gilk were AWARE they were being recorded. The Gilk decision protects individuals from being prosecuted for recording officers in public and protects them for prosecution of the same. Gilk does NOT protect against secretly recording officers in the performance of their duties. The "citemedialw" if you look at the site in the first paragraph uses the word "OPENLY". This gentleman secretly recorded this officer on a traffic stop. He IS NOT protected. Get your facts straight.

And if you aren't 100%sure that the police have video cameras in their cars then you probably shouldn't be making assumptions that they have them because more police don't have them than those who do.

The Shrewsbury Police officers are a great group of guys. They visited my neighborhood during Halloween and handed out glow sticks to the children who were ecstatic about the interaction with the police officers.

Thank you to Officer Scanlon for doing your job. 60 mph in a 50mph zone IS breaking the law, no question about it.

scott.prevett:

Apparently the city of Shrewsbury likes losing money, since that's what will happen when this guy sues the PD, citing Glik vs. Boston.
Not too smart there, guys.

Read My Lips No New Taxes:

Another looming law suit against the town, can we really afford this in times like now. Shouldn't all individuals involved in law enforcement be aware of these basic laws before wrongly charging someone. Like many professions that have Massachusetts mandates to keep up with continuing education in their respective fields, do Police Officers have this same mandate. Health care professionals are required by law to complete a minimum number of CE's to renew their license every 2 years. If they are not, they should be required. The medical field is a dynamic one and changes constantly, the law enforcement world is also dynamic, not static, changes occur all the time. Continuing education is one way of keeping abreast of those changes. IMHO.

Observer66:

Dont the police video and audio record traffic stops from their dashboard mounted cameras? I dont recall any officer informing me that what I say is being recorded.

Ademo.Freeman:

This won't hold up... file a motion citing Glik's case (google for that one, very important) and feel free to add my case too. http://copblock.org/greenfield

The Mass police seem to do this all the time, hopefully they'll learn soon. Recording police in public space is not a crime.

james.bourassa.3:

Officer Scanlon is a good officer. In the beginning of his career, I agree, he over did his power by giving out tickets.

sketcher709:

This is this the same police officer who I thought had already been in trouble for writing tickets without merit. I can not remember the specifics but was he not suspended for a bit because of it?

Seems he used to pull everyone over when the turned onto South Street from Main St, it was a bit ridiculous. So, I have no problem believing he has moved from his street corner to pulling people over for other non-reasons.

E.C.Dennis:

"U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that recording police activity in public is independently protected by the First Amendment, and that it is unconstitutional for the state to prosecute those recording the police in public under Massachusetts's wiretapping law; this ruling might protect secret as well as open recordings. "

http://www.citmedialaw.org/blog/2011/victory-recording-public

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