3 state troopers sued for taking away camera phone


MIDDLETOWN & HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Three Connecticut State Troopers are being sued in federal court for taking away a man’s camera-phone while he was taking video of them at a DUI traffic stop. In that lawsuit, the ACLU of Connecticut accuses the troopers of violating the man’s Constitutional rights.

On a video taken by Michael Picard of East Hartford in September of last year the following exchange can be heard:

TROOPER: “It’s illegal to take my picture.”
PICARD: “No it isn’t.”
TROOPER: “It’s illegal to take my picture.”
PICARD: “It’s public property.”
TROOPER: “It’s illegal to take my picture personally. It is illegal. Did you get any documentation I’m allowing you to take my picture?”
PICARD: “No, but you’re on public property.”
TROOPER: “I’m on state property, I’m on state property.”
PICARD: “You have no reasonable expectation…”
TROOPER: “Be quiet.”
PICARD: “Can I have my phone back?”
TROOPER: “Not yet…I got the camera.”

The exchange occurred while Picard was protesting against State Police DUI traffic stops. He was also openly carrying a gun, which is also legal because he has a permit.

At a previous point in the video, a trooper takes the gun. The camera phone kept rolling and the troopers sound as if they are groping to find some law that was broken with one heard saying they needed to cover their posteriors.

TROOPER: “We gotta cover our ass.”

Related Content: Trooper on video; “We gotta cover our [expletive] “

The troopers lodged several charges against Picard that were all dropped by prosecutors in July. The three troopers named in the federal lawsuit are; John Barone, Patrick Torneo, and John Jacobi.

“We want to make clear and have a court say that nothing that happened here was Michael’s fault. He wasn’t wrong, he has these rights to speak, to protest, and to record,” said Atty. Dan Barrett of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut.

“I’m hoping for to hold these police officers accountable so that no one else has to go through what I went through,” Picard added.

The State Police Union issuing a statement saying in part:

…the lawsuit…is frivolous and will ultimately be dismissed. Simply because charges were dropped against Mr. Picard does not mean he is innocent.”

For the past seven months, State Police spokespersons have been saying this incident is under ‘internal investigation.’ Now they are referring questions to the Attorney General. A spokesperson there now says they are unable to comment at this time.

Related Content: Charges against civilian dropped, cops still being investigated

You can read the entire State Police Union statement here

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s