National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

The Jason Fyk Case: Attempted Murder for Using a Cell Phone?!

Story from WBFF Fox45:

A man who took out his cell phone to record an act, that turned out to be a crime, has ended up in jail.

The next time you hit record in public in Baltimore you might want to think twice. A fateful decision to do just that, put a Pennsylvania business owner in jail for first degree murder. It was a move that web site publisher Jason Fyk cost him dearly. “I couldn’t believe, I could not believe the ignorance of how they twisted this story into something I did,” says Fyk.

His ordeal started last February in a downtown parking garage new Power Plant Live. Fyk had been conducting an interview for his web site with stunt bicyclists when they decided to leave to resume the talk elsewhere. They encountered another group of downtown revelers parked nearby.

After a few heated exchanges, a fight with both sides exchanging blows ensued. Fyk said he stopped recording and intervened when the brawl turned violent. Both parties went their separate ways.

Shortly after posting his video of the scuffle online, police showed up at his home with a search warrant. Several weeks later, another warrant was issued, for his arrest. Fyk says he was charged with “conspiracy to commit first degree murder for taking a cell phone video.”

The charges against Fyk have since been dropped. University of Baltimore Law professor Byron Warnkin says it’s technically not a crime to hit record, even if you catch someone breaking the law.

Both the police department and the attorney general’s office have declined to comment on the issue.

The level of ignorance here is truly astounding.  This isn’t a new cop and a new prosecutor screwing up the appropriate charge in some off-the-wall misdemeanor case.  One must presume the more experienced people are handling the murder and attempted murder cases–and yet Jason Fyk finds himself facing the most severe cases on the law books!  And do note how the system offered him a “break” if he pled guilty.  A less sophisticated person might have caved in and accepted that nightmarish deal.  Plea bargaining is a problem folks.

For additional background, go here, here, here, and here.

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