A New Hampshire man has been sentenced to just under three months behind bars for secretly recording conversations with Manchester police and school officials.
Last October, video surfaced on CopBlock.org of 17-year-old Frank W. Harrington being lifted from his seat in the school cafeteria by a school police officer and slammed face-first into a table.
At the time, Harrington took his sister's purse and said he was "just messing around." Although the West High School teen said his sister was largely unconcerned, school officials involved school resource officer Darren Murphy, who lifted Harrington off his seat, spun him around, forced him onto the table and arrested him.
Harrington was suspended for 12 days and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Michael Proulx, the 17-year-old junior at the school who recorded the incident, was also told by a school official that it's "illegal to film," and ordered to delete anything he had recorded. Proulx lied, saying he had only taken photos, and pretended to erase them.
In response, Mueller took to CopBlock.org to defend both Proulx and Harrington, noting in a report that "Murphy provides the misguided administrator an exact example why filming police is important -- oh, and it's not illegal at all." He also called the Manchester police department and the school seeking comment.
But he chose to record the conversations he had with a Manchester police captain, the Manchester High School West principal and a school secretary, and then included soundbites in a video post. The wiretapping indictments came a few months later, and he is accused of recording the conversations without the other parties' consent.
Mueller, who represented himself, said he caused no harm to the officials. He said the law shouldn't apply to them. He was convicted Monday of three counts of recording conversations without permission.
Mueller justified his position this way:
Here's how I see the offer: it's a stellar deal if I actually thought what I had done was wrong...First, I can't go against my principles and sign a deal that says I acknowledge my actions as wrong or illegal. Second, I'm not a hypocrite. How can I advocate refusing plea deals and sign one myself? I don't judge anyone who has taken pleas because each case/charge is different. Third, I am confident I can show a jury, with facts and logic, that I shouldn't be caged for my actions.
Police say the recordings were made in conjunction with an Oct. 3 incident in which a school security officer was videotaped forcibly handcuffing a student. Mueller posted tape recordings of conversations with Manchester High School West officials and a police captain on www.copblock.org .
The Associated Press contributed to this report.