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TheDC interview: Despite facing charges, Minnesota man to continue filming cops

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

The 28-year old Minnesota man accused of breaking the law for filming law enforcement responding to an emergency tells The Daily Caller he still plans to film emergency situations whenever he can.

Andrew Henderson’s Oct. 30 brush-up with the law outside his apartment in Little Canada spread across the Internet this week after local news outlet The Pioneer Press detailed his story.

“This incident has reaffirmed to me that police need to be watched, and held accountable for their actions,” Henderson told TheDC on Friday.

It all started when a Ramsey County sheriff’s deputy confiscated Henderson’s camera after he filmed emergency workers loading a bloody-faced man into an ambulance.

Deputy Jacqueline Muellner took his camera and told him, “We’ll just take this for evidence.” He argued with her and refused to give his name, and Henderson was charged with obstruction of legal process and disorderly conduct.

Authorities accused Henderson of violating HIPPA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, for filming responders give emergency aid. That law doesn’t restrict people from filming in public places. It generally refers to privacy requirements for medical records.

According to The Pioneer Press, the deputy wrote on the citation, “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.”

Henderson agreed to answer five questions from The Daily Caller about his experience:

TheDC: What’s the point of filming these situations?

Henderson: The point of filming these situations is to promote transparency and accountability of police.

TheDC: One of the most stunning part of your story is how the sheriff’s deputy accused you in her citation of violating HIPAA. Walk me through how you found out you were being accused of this and what you think about the charge?

Henderson: It is stunning! I learned from Investigator Eggers when I attempted to pick up a copy of the incident report that I was accused of that violation. I think that charge is absurd. HIPPA does not apply to the average Joe, only to health care providers.

TheDC: What’s the status of these misdemeanor violations?

Henderson: I am still being criminally charged, and have a pre-trial hearing on January 30th. I still plan to plead innocent.

TheDC: What have you learned from this event?

Henderson: I have learned that there is a gap in training by the Ramsey County Sheriffs Office for its deputies about the First Amendment rights of citizens filming them while they are on duty.

TheDC: After this, will you continue to film emergency situations?

Henderson: Definitely. This incident has reaffirmed to me that police need to be watched, and held accountable for their actions.

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