Police Record Themselves Conspiring to Fabricate Criminal Charges Against Protester

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy, Technology Project

Police stopping drivers at Connecticut DUI checkpoint

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.

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.
END THE CULTURE OF WARRIOR POLICING

TAKE ACTIONThis 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 court. Eventually the state dismissed first one then the other count, though it took a whole year for him to disentangle himself from the criminal justice system.

Meanwhile, Michael filed a complaint with the state police. They claimed they couldn’t do their internal investigation without interviewing Michael. They kept calling Michael directly—and they did that even though there were criminal charges pending and Michael had a criminal defense lawyer. His lawyer kept calling them and saying “don’t you ever call my client again, you have to talk to me.” But they continued to try and get Michael to come in and be interviewed without his lawyer, claiming that they couldn’t do the investigation unless Michael gave a statement. It was unbelievable—this is an interaction that was recorded from start to finish on high-quality digital video. A year later there has been zero movement on the internal affairs investigation as far as anyone knows, which just shows that police and prosecutors in Connecticut should not be in charge of policing themselves.
As a result of the police’s clear inability to police themselves, the only avenue left for Picard and the ACLU of Connecticut is a lawsuit. That lawsuit is based on three claims, as Barrett laid out for me:

The first claim is the violation of Michael’s right to record—the efforts to prevent Michael from recording what was happening. That includes the fact that they swatted his camera and attempted to break it, and took it away, and they also tried to block him from taking photos of the license plates on the police cruiser using his cell phone after his camera was taken.

The second count is a Fourth Amendment claim: the seizure of Michael’s camera without probable cause to believe that it contained evidence of a crime, or a warrant for its seizure. The police cannot grab people’s property and confiscate it on a whim.

The third is a First Amendment retaliation claim. Whether it was because he was carrying a sign criticizing the police, because he was recording the police, because they just didn’t like him, or all of the above, it really appears from the evidence that they completely manufactured criminal charges against Michael.

If Michael had been just jotting down license plate numbers with a pen and pad and the troopers had taken it, or slapped the pen out of his hand saying “you’re not allowed to write down our license plate numbers,” everyone would recognize how ridiculous the situation was. And if the defendants had been any other kind of state or local employee—if they had been a road crew, and Michael had wanted to film them paving, and they had forced him to stop recording, their actions wouldn’t get any serious consideration by a court. Nothing about the defendants here being police makes their actions any more defensible. All Michael was doing was recording state employees doing their jobs on a public street.

The really interesting thing about this case is not just that the state troopers were so openly hostile to being recorded, or to anyone seeing what they were up to, but also that they appear to have had a very frank discussion inside the cruiser about how to punish somebody who was protesting them.
It’s surprising that we are still regularly hearing about incidents in which police are not respecting the constitutional right to record in public. But to hear police officers casually discussing the fabrication of criminal charges to retaliate against a protester is even more shocking. As Barrett put it to me, “It’s one of those things that on your darker days you may think happens all the time, but you never really thought there’d be a video recording of.”

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Danny F. Quest, is an artist, blogger, journalist, and media personality. Co. Founder of TheTruther.us, Danny works as a Freelance journalist and graphic designer for WeAreChange.org, author of ‘120 characters or less’ The guide to winning a debate in the Digtal age. Danny is also working on two documentary films, I love my country but hate what they are doing” and “30 days in Gaza” depicting what it is for Palestinians to live under Israeli occupation.

Cleveland PD is using Homeless To Secure RNC

The Republican National Convention has presented its host city Cleveland with a massive security challenge, with more than 50,000 people expected to show up for the event. To make sure all those convention goers are safe and secure, Cleveland police are asking the city’s homeless population to keep an eye out for threats.

Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless Executive Director Brian Davis told WKYC, “You don’t want people who may be thinking about doing harm to the city trying to blend into the homeless population.”

The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless said police have visited at least two homeless encampments in the city, asking people to be on the lookout for suspicious strangers in the area. The organization has also warned the city’s homeless population about an influx of potentially dangerous people during the convention.

> Read more trending stories

But the city’s previous security plan ran afoul of homeless groups, after they complained that a 3.3 mile “security zone” around the convention would effectively displace the homeless population in the area. A lawsuit spearheaded by the ACLU eventually managed to overturn those plans, forcing the city to redraw its security boundary lines.

The Republican National Convention will take place Monday to Thursday at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena.

https://youtu.be/3V5n7judrm4

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Danny F. Quest, is an artist, blogger, journalist, and media personality. Co. Founder of TheTruther.us, Danny works as a Freelance journalist and graphic designer for WeAreChange.org, author of ‘120 characters or less’ The guide to winning a debate in the Digtal age. Danny is also working on two documentary films, I love my country but hate what they are doing” and “30 days in Gaza” depicting what it is for Palestinians to live under Israeli occupation.

YOUNG BLACK MAN HAS RECTUM SEARCHED FOR BEING A PASSENGER IN A NEW CAR

via. @Cynthia McKinney, PhD &   for Thewashingtonpost.com 


Today the systematic police oppression of minorities continues, as South Carolina appears to have set the bar at a new low.  A black couple was pulled over for driving a new car with new vehicle plates. There is nothing illegal about this, but the officer’s dash cam clearly shows that this is the reason for pulling them over. Let’s suppose that he was just checking to see if the car was really a new purchase.

After handing the driver her license and sales receipt back, the dash cam shows the officer telling a male passenger to get out of the car. He cuffs him, searches him, and tells him that he is bringing in a drug dog to walk around the car. Then, he tells the man he is going to pay for this one, boy.”  While  they are conveniently off camera.

The dog is brought in and apparently smells drugs so the cop rips the car apart but finds nothing. The dog cannot find anything either. The officer is convinced that the man must have drugs. Why? Because, according to the officer, he remembers dealing with him while he was working in a drug unit, years ago.

Off camera, the officer decides to do a more aggressive search and runs his hands up into the passenger’s rectum hard enough that he can feel what the passenger says is a hemorrhoid. The officer says that it can’t be a hemorrhoid because it’s too hard and he’s had hemorrhoids and knows that’s not what they feel like. The man insists and objects to the search.

 The officer can be heard radioing in the event and says that he has to let the couple go because even though he pulled his pants and underwear down and took pictures of the man’s rectum he could not get a visual and the man must have the rock cocaine inside of him.

“He said it was a hemorrhoid. It ain’t no… it was a rock. It was a rock of crack. It’s gotta be a rock. He’s got it up in his butt…I got nothing else to go on. Nothing. Yeah, we’re gonna have to cut him loose here.”

The man asked the officer why he did all of this. The officer said it was because he “knew” him.

The man asked the officer if he had seen how many years it’s been since he’d been in trouble, stating that he has kids now, and the woman driving the car is his wife.

The officer told him that drug dealers and users have kids, too. Then he told him to get the car detailed so other dogs don’t “hit” on it. He then thanks them and leaves.

Footage of the Full Traffic Stop bellow. 


Originally Published on Apr 2, 2016

WATCH Above- Police ‘sexually assault’ black couple during roadside cavity search . Two South Carolina residents are suing the City of Aiken and its department of public safety over what they say was an illegal cavity search in broad daylight.

The Aiken Standard reports Elijah Pontoon and Lakey Hicks filed the lawsuit last September. It was moved to federal court in November.

The InquisitrAiken County Residents: Claim Cops Performed Illegal Cavity Search
South Carolina Police Search: Cops Perform Illegal Cavity Search
White police officers perform illegal anal probe on black South
Video shows white cop perform road side cavity search of blacks

“Black man subjected to “illegal” public cavity search by white police officers” suit alleges that white police officers subjected an African American man man to a humiliating anal search, and that they also partially stripped searched his wife, all in open public, on nothing more then suspicion that they might possess illegal drugs. A formal complaint supported by the video evidence alleges, and court records confirm that on the 2nd day of October, 2014 police officers performed and illegal search and an extra judicial anal cavity search on a black South Carolina man in search for what they claim could of been a “hard rock of Crack” in Mr. Hick’s anus.

Although it is true that Hicks has a criminal record that includes past drug charges, he’s had a clean record since 2006. He told Medlin that he has kids now, indicating that his past actions don’t reflect on his present condition. Medlin claimed he remembered Hicks and had dealt with him on previous occasions, which gave him reasonable suspicion to perform the search.


“You’ve got something here right between your legs. There’s something hard right there between your legs.”


The lawsuit, filed by both Hicks and Pontoon, names Medlin, along with several other officers and the Director of the ADPS officers, as defendants. Court documents show that the defendants are accused of improper search and seizure and improper actions.

The South Carolina police officers are being sued under the Federal law and Federal Causes of action, and Hicks and Pontoon are seeking punitive damages. The Director of ADPS and the City of Aiken are being sued under the State law causes of action, although no punitive damages are being sought against them. According to the lawsuit, Pontoon and Hicks say they were illegally stopped by officers for a paper car tag and searched without consent. In addition to the cavity search, the complaint says a female officer exposed Hicks’ breasts on the side of the road, with a search performed in the presence of three male officers.
South Carolina Police Search: Cops Perform Illegal Cavity Search During A Routine Stop SC New York taxi drivers to be banned from flirting with or ejaculating on passengers cabs stopped speeding Capt. David Turno said in a statement that the city denies the allegations. Turno wasn’t available Saturday for further comment.

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Danny F. Quest, is an artist, blogger, journalist, and media personality. Co. Founder of TheTruther.us, Danny works as a Freelance journalist and graphic designer for WeAreChange.org, author of ‘120 characters or less’ The guide to winning a debate in the Digtal age. Danny is also working on two documentary films, I love my country but hate what they are doing” and “30 days in Gaza” depicting what it is for Palestinians to live under Israeli occupation.

Court Rules NSA ‘Bulk Collection’ is Illegal & Must Be Stopped

nsa_surveillance
Source: Occupy Corporatism

In the 2nd Circuit US Court of Appeals in New York, Justices Gerard Lynch, Robert Sack and Vernon Broderick ruled that the National Security Agency (NSA) data collection programs are illegal.

Based on a lawsuit originated by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the appellate court decided that the provision in the Patriot Act, Section 215, was not a contemplation by Congress to collect massive amounts of data and information on Americans; yet it turned out that way. (more…)

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After years of research and a series of unpleasant experiences concerning the current child protection services system, Alec Cope decided to combat the cancerous corruption through information. Freelance writing articles as a form of protest and distributing them throughout his former high-school and local area, Alec struck special chords with whomever he was in contact with.

Alec has been involved in activism such as sit down protests as well as Idle No More gatherings. Being independent for the majority of his time, Alec became a member of the WeAreChange family to assist one of the organizations that inspired him to become active in the first place. With a larger platform and positive support Alec has committed the majority of his time to research, writing, and maintaining social media with the goal to continue expanding the awakening sweeping throughout all levels of society.

Growing up within a rural area in Northern Michigan as well as being a native American descendant, Alec is seeking to expose environmental abuse in his state as well as globally. A high-school dropout, Alec chases his passion for writing and empowering individuals while showing any isolated person that they too can overcome the odds with a community that will support them. Alec lives in the lower peninsula of Michigan near Kalamazoo.

http://www.facebook.com/alec.cope.75

alecope8@gmail.com

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The DEA isn’t just tracking license plates — it’s taking pictures of vehicles’ passengers, too

5e5b21a5-f571-4bce-b273-6fb2df7d47e5-2060x1236

SOURCE: Pando

The Drug Enforcement Administration is collecting information about more than just license plates with the tracking system revealed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Documents released by the ACLU this morning show that the DEA is also using the license plate readers (LPRs) on which this system relies to capture photographs of a vehicles’ passengers. The images can then be run through facial recognition software. (more…)

avatar
After years of research and a series of unpleasant experiences concerning the current child protection services system, Alec Cope decided to combat the cancerous corruption through information. Freelance writing articles as a form of protest and distributing them throughout his former high-school and local area, Alec struck special chords with whomever he was in contact with.

Alec has been involved in activism such as sit down protests as well as Idle No More gatherings. Being independent for the majority of his time, Alec became a member of the WeAreChange family to assist one of the organizations that inspired him to become active in the first place. With a larger platform and positive support Alec has committed the majority of his time to research, writing, and maintaining social media with the goal to continue expanding the awakening sweeping throughout all levels of society.

Growing up within a rural area in Northern Michigan as well as being a native American descendant, Alec is seeking to expose environmental abuse in his state as well as globally. A high-school dropout, Alec chases his passion for writing and empowering individuals while showing any isolated person that they too can overcome the odds with a community that will support them. Alec lives in the lower peninsula of Michigan near Kalamazoo.

http://www.facebook.com/alec.cope.75

alecope8@gmail.com

https://www.twitter.com/AlecCope

http://www.pinterest.com/aleccope75/

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