Radley Balko offers a story of police who seem to have, er, taken the law into their own hands:


Last May, the crew of the Motorhome Diaries libertarian road tour were arrested in Jones County, Mississippi after a traffic stop. One of the crew, Adam Mueller, was charged with disorderly conduct, though Jones County officials then wavered about what exactly Mueller did wrong. They first said he was arrested for not putting down his video camera when ordered to do so. But it isn't illegal to record police officers in Mississippi. They then said he was arrested for moving from the spot where police officers instructed him to stay.

Mueller recorded most of the encounter, but when his camera was returned to him after he was released from jail the video had been deleted. He has since been able to recover the video, which he walks you through in the video below. The video is choppy and fragmented, a result both of Mueller's holding it during a traffic stop and the fact that it has since been deleted and recovered. Mueller says the recovered video shows the deputies lied about a number of aspects of the stop and subsequent arrests. You can watch and see whether or not you agree with him.

But here's what now is indisputable: Mueller took video of the traffic stop, and that video--evidence in both the county's case against Mueller and Pete Eyre and in their lawsuit against the county--was deleted while Mueller's camera was in the possession of the Jones County Sheriff's Department. I'm no lawyer, but I'm fairly sure that's destruction of evidence. And I'm fairly sure it's a crime. And it seems to me it's a much more serious crime than anything Mueller or Eyre are alleged to have done.

How long until the police figure out that deletions are rarely as permanent as casual users assume?

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