A very strange reversal of roles occurred on a highway in Illinois in June, when a trucker pulled a state trooper over for speeding and talking on a cell phone while driving.
The trooper tried to ticket trucker Brian Miner for honking his horn without a reason. Miner had honked at the trooper because, the trucker said, the state patrol car was exceeding the speed limit and driving unsafe.
The trucker taped the incident in a video that went viral. The video shows the trooper asking Miner why he honked.
“Because you were driving recklessly,” Miner told the trooper. “It’s speeding now. [There are] wet roads and you were on your cell phone.”
“Police officers can actually use technology when we’re driving,” the trooper said. Police are usually exempt from laws against using a cell phone.
“You were driving recklessly,” the trucker said, protesting. “It’s speeding out. It’s got wet roads and you were on your cell phone!”
“If I’m going 70 miles per hour…” the trooper responded.
The trucker said, “You weren’t going 70. You were going well above 70! You were going well above 70!”
“You don’t know,” the trooper said. “You have a radar in here?”
Miner then noted that radar isn’t always needed to warrant a ticket. At one point Miner challenged the trooper and said, “Oh, so you’re above the law?”
The trooper decided not to ticket Miner because he found Miner had a recent violation and didn’t want to hurt his record. He also conducted a motor vehicle inspection and found no problems; a positive search he said would make Miner look good for his trucking company.
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“I wasn’t paying attention to my speed,” the trooper said. “You were just trying to help me drive safely.”
Said Miner, at the end of the confrontation after the trooper had left, “And that’s what happens when they know you’re recording.”
When Can You Record the Police?
Miner obviously took some risks when he honked at the unidentified trooper and recorded him. So, when is it legal to record police?
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) website includes a short list of when and where you can record the police. You have the right to take pictures or video of the cops in the following situations:
- When the police are in a public space or place such as a park or on the street.
- On private property you can only take videos of the police when you have permission of the owner or it is your property. Since the trooper was reaching into Miner’s truck, Miner was in the clear.
- When a police officer is on private property but his or her actions are clearly visible form the public street.
Police can only tell you to stop filming when your filming breaks the law or you are in a place where it is not allowed, the ACLU said.
What are your thoughts on what the trucker did? Tell us in the comments section below.