The ACLU of Connecticut is suing state police for fabricating retaliatory criminal charges against a protester after troopers were recorded discussing how to trump up charges against him. In what seems like an unlikely stroke of cosmic karma, the recording came about after a camera belonging to the protester, Michael Picard, was illegally seized by a trooper who didn’t know that it was recording and carried it back to his patrol car, where it then captured the troopers’ plotting. “Let’s give him something,” one trooper declared. Another suggested, “we can hit him with creating a public disturbance.” “Gotta cover our ass,” remarked a third. ACLU affiliates around the country have done a lot of cases defending the right to record in public places, but this case (press release, complaint) is particularly striking. I spoke to ACLU of Connecticut Legal Director Dan Barrett, and he told me about how the incident came about: Our client is a guy who is very concerned with privacy, and who protests DUI checkpoints around the capital region here in Hartford, Connecticut. He feels they’re both unconstitutional and a waste of money. He has done public records investigations, for example, and recently found that for every two man hours put into a check point, it yields just one minor traffic citation—almost always for defective equipment. He was well known to the police, who also knew that he is a peaceful privacy and open-carry gun rights activist. iframeallowfullscreensrchttpswww.youtube.comembedwvyehgt9CuAautoplay1autoplay1version3thumbfilesweb16-picard_thumb-580×346.jpgframeborder0height346width580iframe Privacy statement. This embed will serve content from youtube.com So Michael was out on Sept. 11, 2015 in West Hartford. He shows up, has a big sign that says “cops ahead, remain silent.” It’s handwritten—this is not threatening stuff. He stood on a small triangular traffic island. He was standing there for an hour, hour and a half without any problems. Then, the state police officers who were working the checkpoint come over to Michael, and the first thing they do is slap the camera out of his hand so it hits the ground. He thinks it’s broken.It was really brazen. There’s another video showing that the first thing the state trooper does is walk up and with his open hand slap the camera down to the ground. He doesn’t even say anything like “put that down,” or “please lower your camera.” He just slaps it to the ground. Then he interacts with Michael as if nothing happened, as if, “I’m just allowed to do that, and I don’t even have to tell you why I just broke your camera.” It’s an amazing level of hostility.The troopers search Michael, and theatrically announce that he has a gun—which they knew he had, and which he was carrying legally under Connecticut’s open carry law. So they take his gun, and they go run his pistol permit. As they’re doing that, Michael picks the camera up off the pavement—it’s a nice SLR that can also record video. He picks it up and tries to turn it on as one of the cops walks back over, and that’s where the video starts. The cop announces that “taking my picture is illegal.” Michael debates with him a little because he’s very knowledgeable about the law and the First Amendment, and the end result is that the trooper snatches the camera, walks away, and puts it on top of the cruiser, without realizing that it is working and is recording video. This is the point at which the troopers’ accidental self-surveillance begins. Barrett continues: So we get the three troopers at the cruiser talking about what to do. Michael’s permit comes back as valid, they say “oh crap,” and one of the troopers says “we gotta punch a number on this guy,” which means open an investigation in the police database. And he says “we really gotta cover our asses.” And then they have a very long discussion about what to charge Michael with—none of which appear to have any basis in fact. This plays out over eight minutes. They talk about “we could do this, we could do this, we could do this….”In Connecticut, police officers have clear requirements under the law to intervene and stop or prevent constitutional violations when they see them. But at no time did any of the three officers pipe up and say, “why don’t we just give him his camera back and let him go.”In the end they decide on two criminal infractions: “reckless use of a highway by a pedestrian,” and “creating a public disturbance.” They have a chilling discussion on how to support the public disturbance charge, and the top-level supervisor explains to the other two, “what we say is that multiple motorists stopped to complain about a guy waving a gun around, but none of them wanted to stop and make a statement.” In other words, what sounds like a fairy tale.The tickets they gave him started a criminal prosecution in the Connecticut superior co
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Aboriginal Press News Service (APNS) is the international, non-partisan, not-for-profit, grassroots newswire of the Aboriginal News Group (ANG).
The Aboriginal News Group (ANG) seeks to support, educate and unify Indigenous bloggers & Indigenist Activists covering news information important to Original Peoples, First Nations communities and other ethnic-minorities subjected to discrimination, marginalisation, neoliberal exploitation racialism and genocide.
- Trump vs. #Palestine
- Report: Girl in Weiner sexting case lied to damage Clinton | TheHill
- Saudi Arabia Wants Trump to Drop 9/11 Terror Victims Law By Tom O’Connor On 3/20/17
- Raytheon and Saudi Arabia Military Industries announce strategic partnership
- Josiah Begg’s family says person pulled from river in Thunder Bay, Ont., was missing First Nations teen
- CLAIM: Saudi Arabia Paying For Veterans To Oppose 9/11 Law On Capitol Hill ow.ly/KmCT50bFtkj 6 hours ago
- St. Paul’s School Acknowledges Decades of Sexual Misconduct - St. Paul’s School Acknowledges Decades of Sexual ... ow.ly/bc3450bFrp1 7 hours ago
- Gov’t says 560 children kept in Turkish prisons along with mothers | Turkey Purge ow.ly/exC350bFret 7 hours ago
- Theresa May faces 'chaos and confusion' claims after social care U-turn | Society | The Guardian ow.ly/Q9eC50bFres 7 hours ago
- 4WR #Podcast seeks #African & #Indigenous Ppls to comment on this via Skype / Pls DM @TheAngryindian (Serious Only) twitter.com/telesurenglish… 8 hours ago
Inteligenta Indigena Novajoservo™ (IIN) is produced by the Aboriginal Press News Service™ (APNS), and is an Internet publication of the Aboriginal News Group™ (ANG). All editorial text, posted news items and related post images employed within this newswire are published under a CC: Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 license unless otherwise stated. Meaning, any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or the much needed elucidation of the Fourth World masses without monetary gain is duly permitted and encouraged provided credit is given where credit is due to all parties concerned. It is believed that this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Accordingly, said material is distributed here without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving such information for research and/or educational purposes. This autonomous publication assumes no liability for the content and/or hyperlinked materials of any other website. Nor do we accept paid advertising, swag, or monetary donations. APNS-ANG and its affiliate orgs do not advocate, encourage or condone any type/form of illegal behaviour. All news material posted is provided for informational purposes only.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.