Oct 29th a St Paul MN man cited for Obamacare violation when he recorded police. Andrew Henderson was sitting on a bench in front of his Apartment complex when he noticed Sheriffs Deputies frisking a man with a bloody nose before putting him in an Ambulance. Anytime Andrew sees the police frisking someone he pulls out his recorder and tapes it.
Deputy Jacqueline Mueller then approached Andrew and snatched the camera from his hands saying “We’ll take that as evidence; If I end up on YouTube I’m going to be upset”. Andrew has the exact quote as he was also recording the audio with his phone. This audio is clear and you can hear the discussion. Andrew calmly insisted that what he was doing was perfectly legal and within his rights. Andrew refused to give his name since he was not being arrested.
The next day Andrew went to the Sheriffs office to get his property. The Deputy on duty told Andrew no report was made about him or his camera so he’ll have to wait. Andrew gave the Deputy his name.
A week later Andrew got a citation in the mail charged with Obstruction of legal process and disorderly conduct in accordance with Obamacare.
Andrew went to court and plead innocent on Jan 2nd. At that time he was informed the deputy wrote on the report, “While handling a medical/check the welfare (call), (Henderson) was filming it. Data privacy HIPAA violation. Refused to identify self. Had to stop dealing with sit(uation) to deal w/Henderson.” Andrew has a pretrial hearing set for Jan 2nd.
Andrew was again refused his camera by Deputy Dan Eggers stating “I think that what (the deputies) felt was you were interfering with someone’s privacy that was having a medical mental health breakdown,” Eggers said, as heard on another recording Henderson made. “They felt like you were being a ‘buttinski’ by getting that camera in there and partially recording what was going on in a situation that you were not directly involved in.” Eggers noted that the incident report said nothing was recorded on the camera. Andrew claims the police deleted the video. 2 days later his camera was released to him.
There are a few things going on here. Jane Kirtley, professor of media ethics and media law at the University of Minnesota says. “Somebody needs to explain to them that under U.S. law, making video recordings of something that’s happening in public is legal.” “Law enforcement has no expectation of privacy when they are carrying out public duties in a public place.” according to US courts.
The Sheriff’s office stated “It is not our policy to take video cameras. It is everybody’s right to (record) … What happens out in public happens out in public. One exception might be when a law enforcement officer decides that the recording is needed for evidence, he said. In that case, the officer would generally send the file to investigators and return the camera on the spot”. That clearly is not what happened here. You do not delete a file to “preserve evidence”; deleting a file is destroying evidence.
Deputy Mueller does not file a report or make any notation until AFTER Andrew tries to recover his property. Then she charges him with Obstruction of legal process and disorderly conduct in accordance with Obamacare and later changes it to HIPAA. HIPAA does not cover this situation. HIPAA or the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, deals with how health care providers handle consumers’ health information. There is NOTHING in HIPAA that deals with recordings made in public.
It is my non Lawyer opinion that the seizure and alleged erasure of the recorded material “raises significant Fourth Amendment issues. Andrew is being charged to cover this Deputies ass. Andrew says he is going to have a trial because he did nothing wrong.
Muellner has been with the sheriff’s office since 1980. Her personnel file includes numerous awards, commendations and thank-you letters. There are two citizen complaints from the 1980s, found by the office to be “not sustained.”