In a US federal civil rights lawsuit, a Connecticut man has shared footage to bolster his claims that police illegally confronted the pedestrian because he was filming one of them. Authorities seized Michael Picard’s camera and his permitted pistol, and the officers involved then accidentally recorded themselves allegedly fabricating charges against the man.
Picard’s police encounter began as he was protesting a sobriety checkpoint while lawfully carrying a handgun in a holster. The plaintiff often protests near sobriety checkpoints in the Hartford region and is known by locals and police in the area, according to court documents. ”Cops Ahead: Keep Calm and Remain Silent,” read the 3-foot-by-2-foot sign Picard held up to motorists ahead of the checkpoint in West Hartford last year.
According to the lawsuit, trooper John Barone walked up to Picard and said “someone called in” a complaint about a man “waving a gun and pointing it at people.” It’s a claim the lawsuit alleges is fabricated. The lawsuit also states that Barone “swatted” the digital camera out of Picard’s hands and onto the ground, at which point the battery dislodged. Barone seized Picard’s pistol and “took the handgun permit out of Picard’s pants pocket,” according to the suit.
The officer briefly walked away to a patrol car, and Picard picked up his camera, inserted the battery and began filming again, according to the suit.
“It’s illegal to take my picture,” the officer is overheard saying on the video.
“No, it isn’t,” Picard replies.
“It’s illegal to take my picture. Personally, it is illegal,” Barone says before taking the camera. ”I got the camera,” he tells fellow officers.
The officer next put the camera on the light bar on the roof of a patrol car, pointed skyward. It was still …