The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut has filed a lawsuit against the state police in Connecticut for conspiring to make up false evidence against a protester.
An ardent protester against the DUI checkpoints, Michael Picard was arrested on September 15, 2015. Picard strongly holds the view that DUI checkpoints are in contrast with the Fourth Amendment and also a waste of public funds.
The suit was filed last week in a U.S. District Court and stated that some three officers; Master Sgt. Patrick Torneo, Sgt. John Jacobi and Trooper First Class John Barone arrested Picard for protesting near a DUI checkpoint in West Hartford. ACLU in their complaint further stated that the officers “violated Picard’s First Amendment rights to free speech and information and Fourth Amendment right against warrantless seizure of his property.”
While police officers conducted a DUI checkpoint in West Hartford on the Interstate 84 slip road on the 11th of September, 2015, Picard was seen holding a sign post that had the inscription, “Cops Ahead: Keep Calm and Remain Silent.” He was probably warning motorists of the exercise so they could comply. He displayed the sign in both directions.
Shortly, a call was placed to the state police by an employee of the Hartford Police Department reporting Picard’s action and raising a false alarm of a possible protest by the Black man.
After about an hour and a half into Picard’s lone protest, Barone arrived and said; “someone called in a complaint about a man waving a gun and pointing it at people.” But ACLU stated that there wasn’t such complaint made to the police.
Picard had his digital camera in his hands at the time of the interrogation but it was slapped out of his hands by Barone. He later accused the Black protester of possessing a gun. The suit stated that although Picard had a licensed gun, he never removed it and he also had his permit in his pocket at that time.
All this while, the camera which the officer had slapped out of Picard’s hands was still recording. Barone was then captured on tape calling a Hartford police officer to ask if he or she had “grudges” against Picard. He requested an investigation of him be checked from the police database and also had a conversation about a different protest Picard had organized in the state.
After a while, the officers came to a consensus to forge two criminal infraction tickets which they gave to Picard. This was after Barone had said, “We gotta cover our ass.”
Picard expressed his disappointment in the officers’ action by saying, “As an advocate for free speech, I’m deeply disappointed that these police officers ignored my rights, particularly because two of the troopers involved were supervisors who should be setting an example for others.”
The dirty practices of some racist police have finally been brought to light by the footage. They always find dubious means just to incarcerate Black people. No wonder most Black people who suffer at the hands of police officers are usually innocent of the crime. These officers deserve to be punished. We hope the justice system in America works right this time.
Source: The Root