Illegal to tell someone that they are speaking to undercover cops?

Video here:

Short summary: undercover cops are trying to get drivers to stop and pick them up, and then busting them for…I don’t know what. The camera holder is a driver who got busted, then parked and came over to warn another such driver that the two people asking for a ride were undercover cops. At that point, uniformed officers rolled up and began harassing the camera operator, informing him that he was “interfering with an investigation.”

What could the camera operator be cited for? Is telling people that they are speaking to undercover cops really considered to be interfering with an investigation?

As an aside, what were these cops trying to bust drivers for in the first place?

Uber drivers interfere with the ability of Cab Drivers to make a living. They’re not authorized for stop and pickups, just call and drive more like an instant limo service.

It has been illegal to interfere with Police Operations for a long time. People occasionally got in trouble for using CBs to call out police waiting for speeders and even using a radar detector was punishable by fine.

Interesting. What is the legality of apps like Wayze and Google Maps, which include warnings of speed traps down the road? Those apps rely on earlier drivers seeing speed traps and inputting relevant info into the app for later drivers.

The Supreme Court has ruled that blinking your lights to warn drivers about speed traps is protected speech.

From wiki:
" In the United States, although the legality of headlight flashing varies from state to state, a federal court ruled that flashing headlights was a constitutionally protected form of speech, issuing an injunction prohibiting a police department from citing or prosecuting drivers who flash their lights to warn of radar and speed traps.[30][31] On 23 April 2019, another court ruled that headlight flashing may be protected by the First Amendment.[32] Two state circuit courts have also ruled that headlight flashing is protected activity.[32]"

This would seem to run against prior incidents:

If flashing your headlights to warn drivers is considered free speech, then shouldn’t the guy in the video I linked to also be in the clear?

Plausibly. There’s often quite a large overlap between “things you can get a court to agree are within your rights” and “things cops will hassle/arrest/abuse you for”.

Related and possibly relevant thread here:

The job of the police is to prevent and deter crime, protect property from criminal damage, keep the peace and bring offenders to justice. If they were doing their duty and someone knowingly interferes with this ability, it is likely not legal in Canada.

But it isn’t just the police that deter crime.

Going back the example of speed traps, there are multiple ways that crime (in this case, speeding) can be deterred. One way is by seeing another car that the police have pulled over. Another way is by having another driver flash his lights to warn you of the speed trap.

Speeding is not a felony. The ruling on blinking lights may not apply to more serious matters.

Unlicensed taxi operation. You have to have a taxi license to pick up riders who are “hailing” you on the street and have not booked a car service in advance.

What is the difference between these statments, expressed to a stranger:

A-- You’d better not speed, there is Radar ahead

B— You’d better not shoplift that, there are security cameras.

Ib B also a crime, for interfering with enforcememt?

The difference is that the police are not monitoring security cameras in stores. I’m not saying that should make any difference at all and I don’t understand what you are trying to point out.

There is a difference between saying the police are “using radar up ahead on the road” and “the police are here to arrest you for committing a felony so you better escape out through the back window”.

The answer I have arrived at after great deliberation is, it depends.

Tricking drivers into picking them up (for an illegal fare) isn’t deterring crime, it’s directly causing crime.

In the video I linked to, the camera operator actively deterred the other driver from committing a crime; if anything, he was helping the police in that duty.

Depends on your jurisdiction. In France, those GPS speed trap warnings are illegal - when I downloaded the France map for my satnav, it came with a message saying that function had been disabled for legal reasons.

If I influence another driver to drive within the law (by flashing), then I’m the criminal? Most of the drivers who see my flashing are already compliant and I am not interfering with any criminal enforcement or investigation by communicating with them.

I’m not in the USA, and we have much more restrictive ‘freedom of speech’ limits than the USA does.

But as it happens, that “flashing my lights” question came up in the courts here ~40 years ago, and the court accepted the testimony of the accused that he always flashed his lights at people who were speeding, to help them realize that they were breaking a speed limit. And that he was not engaged in trying to help people escape from a police speed trap.

Of course, back in the day, our roads were not as aggressively sign posted, and it was much more common for people to find themselves inadvertently speeding, and flashing your lights at them was a common courtesy 60 years ago. It was the kind of thing an older driver might do.

Dunno how it would play out now.

Flashing your lights to warn other drivers of speed cameras in the UK is against the law - it’s also illegal to flash your lights for any other reason than warning other drivers that you are there, so we’re not supposed to flash our lights, for example, to let another car have right of way. Our highway code is strict! Of course, we all still do it.

I could not find any crime in the California code called “interfering with police operations.” Nor did a search for the words “interfering” or “obstruction” turn up anything that seems remotely close to a blanket law against making a policeman’s job harder.

I think what you mean is that police have considered themselves above the law for a long time, and will arrest people for things that are not crimes if they feel annoyed enough.