Rockville man harassed, manhandled by police while video recording from his car

Jared Parr. Photo: WJLA

A Rockville man's desire to capture on video the interaction that comes when police pull drivers over didn't go as planned.

Instead of being a quiet observer with a video camera, he ended up in the middle of a heated confrontation, harassed and manhandled by two officers.

Jared Parr, who runs a YouTube channel called Rockville CopWatch, says things got complicated when an officer realized he had a camera.

"At that point, I turned on the video camera," Parr says.

On the video, one officer is recorded saying, “I believe you're video taping. I believe you're audio recording.”

“Oh, I am,” Parr answers.

“Okay, you're not allowed to do that,” the officer says. “That's against the law to audio record without my permission.”

At that point, the camera was on Parr's lap.

But he tells the officer, he disagrees that it’s illegal to record an officer in public and he cites the law.

“Am I being detained?” Parr asks.

“You're being detained right now because you're audio recording and you're not supposed to,” the officer says.

Parr says the two officers by the window were trying to intimidate him.

Video from YouTube.

And despite knowing his rights, he stepped out of the car because he feared the officers would break the window in his car.

"Before I could do anything, they just instantly throw me around, pull my hands behind my back, take everything out of my hands,” Parr tells ABC7. “And then a couple seconds later that's when the video cuts off."

Parr was arrested and charged with hindering and obstruction of a police officer doing his job.

A Montgomery County Police spokesperson tells ABC7 the officer was incorrect in telling Parr he could not record, because department policy tells officers anyone has the right to record them while in public.
When asked if the officer knew the policy, the spokesman said he couldn't speculate what the officer knows or doesn't know.

In 2010 a Maryland judge ruled the state's wire tap law allows recording of both voice and sound in areas where privacy cannot be expected.

It's not the first time Parr has had a run-in with the law, because he likes to document the interaction between police officers and civilians on his YouTube channel, Rockville CopWatch.

"This is a small step, but holding government accountable is a very important thing," Parr tells ABC7.