Michael Picard, a journalist who
specializes in Police accountability, was illegally detained for
lawfully filming the police on public property. The Police officials illegally confiscated his
gun and his camera, but made the crucial mistake of forgetting to turn his phone off while it was still on record . What the camera caught afterwards, is currently going viral… they began to conspire as to how they could falsely charge him.
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Free Thought Project reports:
On Monday, Picard informed the Free Thought Project the ACLU had picked
up his case and they are now planning legal action against
Connecticut’s Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.
The Free Thought Project spoke to the ACLU who put out a press release:
a complaint filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of
Connecticut, the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut (ACLU-CT)
contends that three state police troopers illegally retaliated against a
protester by searching and detaining him, confiscating his camera, and
charging him with fabricated criminal infractions. On behalf of
Connecticut resident Michael Picard, the ACLU-CT alleges that John
Barone, Patrick Torneo, and John Jacobi, all employed by the state
police division of Connecticut’s Department of Emergency Services and
Public Protection, violated Picard’s First Amendment rights to free
speech and information and Fourth Amendment right against warrantless
seizure of his property.
On that September night, Picard and a
friend were on public property and warning drivers of a DUI checkpoint
ahead. They were several hundred yards from the checkpoint and not
interfering at all when troopers drove up, without lights on, and
against the flow of traffic, to begin harassing the two gentlemen.
First Class John Barone, Sergeant John Jacobi, and Trooper Jeff Jalbert
falsely claimed that Picard was waving his gun around and pointing it
at people. However, Picard was holding a sign the entire time and did
not touch his gun. Also, as you will see below, the officers admit that
they were lying.
“Police should be focused on public safety, not
punishing protesters and those who film public employees working on a
public street,” said ACLU-CT legal director Dan Barrett, who is
representing Picard in the lawsuit. “As the video shows, these police
officers were more concerned with thwarting Mr. Picard’s free speech and
covering their tracks than upholding the law.”
actually been waving a gun, these troopers would have approached the
situation in an entirely different manner, with guns drawn and possible
SWAT backup. However, they did no such thing, because there was clearly
no threat from the activists.
The fact that there was no threat did not stop the subsequent assault, however.
troopers approached Picard while forcefully removing his gun and then
grabbing his camera, falsely claiming it is illegal to film. When Picard
informs the officer can legally film here, the officer ignorantly
asserts that “It’s illegal to take my picture. Personally, it is
“Did you get any documentation that I am allowing you to take my picture”? asks the cop.
Picard attempts to explain to the aggressive officer that he doesn’t
need a permit because he is on public property, the trooper then makes
the asinine declaration that, “No I’m not (on public property). I’m on
state property. I’m on state property.”
State-owned roadways and
right of ways are public property. The trooper’s assertion that it is
illegal to film on his ‘state property’ was entirely false and in
violation of Connecticut Bill No. 245, which “protects the right of an
individual to photograph or video record peace officers in the
performance of their duties.”
All this aggressive and unlawful
behavior of these troopers, however, was about to come back to haunt
them. After illegally confiscating the camera — the trooper forgot to
stop it from recording.
What happened next was a behind the scenes
glimpse of what it looks and sounds like when cops lie to charge
innocent people with crimes.
The corruption starts as an unidentified
trooper begins to search for anything that these gentlemen may have
done to make up charges against them. However, they were clean. At this
point, Trooper first class Barone chimes in describing how they now have
to charge these men with something to justify their harassment and
“Want me to punch a number on this? Gotta cover our ass,” explains the trooper as they begin conspiring.
“Let’s give him something,” says an unidentified trooper, pondering the ways they can lie about this innocent man.
“What are they going to do? Are they going to do anything?” says Sergeant Jacobi, noting that they are entirely innocent.
legal to do it,” he continues, describing how the actions of the two
activists are completely legal, before going on to make up charges on
“I think we do simple trespass, we do reckless use of the
highway and creating a public disturbance,” Jacobi says as he makes up
these false charges against innocent people. “All three are tickets.”
Once they figure out the false charges to raise, the officers then brainstorm a story of lies to back them up.
then we claim that, um, in backup, we had multiple, um,” the
unidentified trooper stutters as he makes up his fake story. “Um, they
(the non-existent complainants) didn’t want to stay and give us a
statement, so we took our own course of action.”
The corrupt cops
had then solved their fake case, lied about a cover story, and were set
to charge an innocent man with three crimes — all in a day’s work.
there was just one more thing…. “Oh shit!” blurts out the cop as he
realizes their entire scandalous corrupt conversation was just recorded.
Apparently, however, the officer felt that it must not have recorded
their conversation as the phone was returned.
The cops then gave
the innocent man back his weapon, and it’s back to the DUI checkpoint
for them — to harass and detain more innocent people.
members like me have a right to film government officials doing their
jobs in public, and we should be able to protest without fearing
political retribution from law enforcement,” said Picard. “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.
By seeking to hold these three police officers accountable, I hope that I
can prevent the same thing from happening to someone else.”
the video below and remember that this can happen to anyone anywhere
and at any time. All a corrupt cop has to do to ruin the lives of those
they do not like, is make up a lie and get their fellow cops to
corroborate that lie. Had the cop not left the video going, Picard’s
situation would be much different and the world would think he’s a
“The evidence clearly shows that these police officers
violated Mr. Picard’s rights,” said attorney Joseph R. Sastre, who
defended Picard against the criminal charges and is joining Barrett to
represent Picard in the civil case. “We are confident that the court
will agree, and we hope that it will send a strong message to police and
the public alike that enforcing the law means respecting free speech,
not trampling on it.”
The complaint filed in U.S. District Court is available here.
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