41-year old Bridgeport, Illinois mechanic Michael Allison is facing possible life in jail for recording police officers via some archaic state eavesdropping charges (see video below). The state of Illinois is trying to charge Allison with five counts of wiretapping, each punishable by four to 15 years in prison for each count.
Allison says that he recorded officers while they confiscated a car on his mother’s property. He also went to the police station with his recorder to speak to the chief of police about the seized property. Finally, when he was denied a court reporter in a court hearing, he recorded the proceedings himself and was arrested.
Allison syas that he refused a plea deal, which would have seen him serve no jail time, but would reinforce the statute that it is illegal to film police officers: “If we don’t fight for our freedoms here at home we’re all going to lose them.”
A judge is expected to rule on when the case will go to trial over the next two weeks.
This type of charge has been done before in different states, but charges have been dropped and the case thrown out of court. In Illinois, eavesdropping charges against Tiawanda Moore for recording patrol officers were dropped, after a jury quickly repudiated the prosecution’s case, taking less than an hour to acquit Moore on both eavesdropping counts.