Man Charged after Videotaping Police on His Own Property

A Nashua, New Hampshire man has been arrested for videotaping police officers on his own property.

A city man is charged with violating state wiretap laws by recording a detective on his home security camera, while the detective was investigating the man’s sons. Michael Gannon, 49, of 26 Morgan St., was arrested Tuesday night, after he brought a video to the police station to try to file a complaint against Detective Andrew Karlis, according to Gannon’s wife, Janet Gannon, and police reports filed in Nashua District Court. Police instead arrested Gannon, charging him with two felony counts of violating state eavesdropping and wiretap law by using an electronic device to record Karlis without the detective’s consent.


The Gannons installed a video and audio recording system at their home, a four-unit building at 22-28 Morgan St., to monitor the front door and parking areas, family members told police. They installed the cameras about two years ago, buying the system at Wal-Mart, Janet Gannon told the police, according to reports filed in court. The Gannons have owned the property, which is assessed at $382,700, for the past three years, city records show.

Janet Gannon spoke with The Telegraph by phone Wednesday afternoon, before going to bail out her husband. She said they installed the system in response to crime in the neighborhood, and at their house. “We’ve had two break-ins. One guy came right up our stairs and started beating on my husband, and we called the cops,” she said. Another time, after someone broke into a camper on their property, Janet Gannon said an officer suggested they were “too rich” for the neighborhood, and should move.

The security cameras record sound and audio directly to a videocassette recorder inside the house, and the Gannons posted warnings about the system, Janet Gannon said.


The Gannons felt police were harassing the family, Janet Gannon said. “There were six cops in my yard,” the first time police came, she said. “My husband was very upset. How many cops does it take to talk to a 15-year-old.”


Police reported that Gannon “has a history of being verbally abusive” toward police, and that after his arrest, he remarked that the officers “were a bunch of corrupt (expletives).”

One wonders where he’d get that idea?

As Radley Balko observes, “It should never, ever be a crime to tape or record police officers while they’re on duty. They’re public servants. They work for us.”

Beyond that, however, one would think it obvious that people have the right to videotape the goings-on on their own property. Indeed, people install security cameras all the time for precisely that purpose. Police routinely use videotape in public spaces to document, for example, their interactions with those to whom they are issuing traffic citations.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. donsurber says:

    “It should never, ever be a crime to tape or record police officers while theyâ??re on duty.”

    He’s OK with exposing undercover cops?

  2. James Joyner says:

    Don: How undercover could they be if people are videotaping them?

  3. Sam says:

    If the cops are undercover, how would you know they were cops when you were taping them? (Scenario: you tape a drug deal, it turns out that one party was an undercover cop making a buy.)

  4. cirby says:

    This is going to be pretty slam-dunk when it comes to trial.

    There’s several decades of case law about this sort of thing, and the police (celebrities, et cetera) always lose.

    I was taking pictures of a bunch of bicycle cops on New Year’s Eve 1999 (lined up and doing nothing, basically), and another cop walked over to me and told me I couldn’t do that. I laughed at him and told him to get his shift supervisor over there, right now.

    The sergeant got pissed, and couldn’t believe that the other cop was so uninformed about how that sort of thing works.

  5. Bithead says:

    (Insert obligitory comment about over reliance on the letter of the law, versus the intent of it. here. )

  6. randall says:

    I have video security cameras installed outside of my home and I would hate to think that the police could arrest if a recording was made of them doing their job. It sounds as if this is case of “revenge by badge” against the family. This sounds like a trumped up charge. I know a woman who filed a complaint against a police officer and it made the local news. The officer was disciplined for wrong doing and this woman who had not had so much as a parking ticket in 12 years was pulled over and ticketed three time in one week. I support law officers as long as they stay within the confines of the law and ethics, when they stray from this they give a black eye to the profession.

  7. floyd says:

    all these cases seem to be based on an expectation of privacy. it has been ruled to the extreme that there is almost none anywhere,these cops certainly do not have a case.[except of course in a corrupt court, in which cameras are not allowed][lol]