By Garret Ean
Nov 3 2010
Yesterday while poll standing at Ward 5, I met Concord Police Chief Robert Barry. I had been meaning to contact him to follow up on my complaint. When I asked him if there were any findings as the result of the investigation of my complaint, he informed me politely that the department had reviewed my case, completed and closed it. I then asked again what the findings were. He stated that CPD would not be commenting further on the case and cited that it involved a complaint against an individual officer. Although my complaint was in general over the actions of four officers, there was one who received the more significant complaint of assault against him. This was the only officer whose badge number would be mentioned in the letter CPD sent to me in August (see https://freeconcord.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/concord-police-continue-to-abuse-wiretapping-statute/).
After pronouncing in legal terms that he had no comment to my question, I got the impression that the Chief no longer wished to continue engaging in conversation. I questioned how it was that a complaint about a criminal wrongdoing could have no public resolution, to which the Chief asked, (paraphrasing) “for the public, or for you?”As I did not record the conversation, I cannot recall specific details of what was said.
Despite the fact I was making a complaint over a criminal act, I never said in my statement that I was interested in seeing anyone face criminal charges. All I asked as restitution was that this incident not repeat itself. As CPD has continued to spread misinformation about the statute in civilian contacts, and as the Chief would not make a statement as to clarify the law and how Concord Police enforce it, it is my understanding that elements within Concord PD wish to keep the public ignorant of the wiretapping statute’s true implications because they want to be able to prevent civilian recording on demand. The Chief told me that the police don’t give legal advice. On this point I would sadly agree. Some police would prefer a public uneducated as to their own rights.
When I asked why CPD would not at least make a public statement over their policy in handling legal recording, he cited and inability to define what is legal and illegal. I asked for an example, and he stated an instance in which a third party intercepts communication between police and a minor being criminal. I agreed that third party interception was illegal, but that I was not interested in Concord Police stating the obvious facets of the statute. When I asked for examples of individuals recording police that would be illegal he ended the conversation, and suggested that I get the law changed. I affirmed that I was working on it, or clarification at least.
Some members of Concord Police may still believe they can assert an elite right to prevent individuals from filming them, but as public consciousness on this issue spreads, cases of wiretapping statute abuse will no longer be able to be quietly swept under the rug.
As an update on a story I had mentioned in my previous post on this issue, local access television program Capitol Access interviewed Carla Gericke and her attorney Seth Hipple on their legal proceedings against Weare PD. Police went so far as to ‘legally’ kidnap Carla and destroy all evidence of the encounter. Seth Hipple reports that her case is not isolated.
You can view the episode through Capitol Access’ website:
The Union Leader on Sunday, October 24th published an editorial asking the NH Attorney General to clarify the statute before there are further incidents:
Continue to keep a camera handy in Concord, assert your rights.