II: Analyst Nabs Robber; Viral Video & Illegal Recordings

Posted on 16 May 2011 by

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Dave and I are still running around like one-legged men in butt-kicking contests, but here are a couple of thoughts for Monday morning.

First, let’s all hail Carynn Terrell, the crime analyst who nabbed the infamous “Granny Bandit” last week. According to all the different news outlets which basically quoted the same AP story, Fontana, CA Police Chief Rodney Jones thanked Terrell for helping detectives catch 51-year-old Dodi Wasbotten on 11 May, hours after Wasbotten allegedly robbed a woman outside a Target store. Terrell had produced an intelligence flyer for the “Granny Bandit” — “an old lady wearing big sunglasses, a scarf and muumuu” who was sticking up folks in California parking lots.

According to AP, Wasbotten’s car matched the vehicle description, and that items belonging to one of the victims were found inside. Detectives said they also found an unloaded handgun.

Leticia Juarez and Robert Holguin of ABC affiliate KABC-TV Los Angeles did some of the only original reporting on the case, in which they said that police described Wasbotten as having some difficulties, and that her Facebook page says she’s looking for a job. It also asked that anyone with information related to the case contact the Fontana Police Department at (909) 350-7740.

To her serious credit, after her quick-thinking action, Terell didn’t comment to anyone about the case. Wayta go, girl! You have our undying respect and admiration.

Second, after my talk last week at the SMILE conference on mobile videos and the dangers therein, I couldn’t help but notice a related article by Wendy McElroy in Gizmodo which discusses moves by three states to make illegal video recording of police officers in public. Last week, PoliceOne reported on a new viral video that showed the arrest of a teenager video recording a police officer in which the teen argues basically that the cops can’t tell him not to record them in public. According to McElroy’s article,

The legal justification for arresting the “shooter” rests on existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws, with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway. Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested. Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where “no expectation of privacy exists” (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.

This is a very interesting debate and we will watch and report when we have something to say, other than to re-state our opinion (as I did last week at SMILE) that the police should be held accountable, and that I personally recommend (Dave does not agree with me) that cops carry their own body-worn video cameras to provide their own record of their actions.

What do you think? That’s what the comment forms are there for, folks! Let us hear from you.