The ACLU of Connecticut is suing the police after they accidentally recorded themselves on a phone they took from a protester as they were trying to come up with charges they could level against him for protesting.
According to ACLU of Connecticut Legal Director Dan Barrett, the man, Michael Picard, is "well known to the police" as "a peaceful privacy and open-carry gun rights activist." On the night of the arrest, Picard was standing on a traffic island holding a sign protesting police DUI stops. The police arrived and immediately slapped Picard's expensive camera out of his hands.
"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," Barrett said.
After the police search Picard, they announce that he has a gun, which was already a well-known fact, and then go to run his license for the gun.
2016 issues: Guns, domestic violence, rape and death sentences
(MAIN) 2016 issues: Guns, domestic violence, rape, death sentences
(MAIN) 2016 issues: Guns, domestic violence, rape, death sentences
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 08: A makeshift memorial is shown along the sidewalk in the Lawndale neighborhood where a 22-year-old man was shot and killed over the Labor Day weekend on September 8, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The murder was one of nine reported in Chicago over the long weekend, with another 46 shot and wounded. Many major U.S. cities, including Chicago, are experiencing a surge in homicides and other violent crimes this year. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 10: Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D-Va., speaks during a rally on the East Front lawn of the Capitol to demand that Congress take action on gun control legislation, September 10, 2015. Andy Parker, far right, whose daughter Alison, a reporter for WDBJ-TV reporter, was killed on air last month, looks on. The event, titled #Whateverittakes Day of Action, was hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and featured speeches by political leaders and families of gun violence victims. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Signs are viewed on the outside wall of Roanoke Firearms on August 28, 2015, in Roanoke, Virginia. With mass shootings seemingly on a daily basis, it appears no place in the United States is safe from carnage: not churches, not schools, not even the morning newscast.The shocking on-air murder of a young reporter and a cameraman by a disgruntled former colleague August 26, 2015 has once again renewed calls for stricter gun controls.That is simply not going to happen, experts said, and the trend in recent years has actually gone in the opposite direction.'You can't get rid of them,' Harry Wilson, a professor at Roanoke College in Virginia -- near the scene of the latest shooting -- told AFP. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
The Big Boyz Gun store is seen August 28, 2015, in Blue Ridge, Virginia. With mass shootings seemingly on a daily basis, it appears no place in the United States is safe from carnage: not churches, not schools, not even the morning newscast.The shocking on-air murder of a young reporter and a cameraman by a disgruntled former colleague August 26, 2015 has once again renewed calls for stricter gun controls.That is simply not going to happen, experts said, and the trend in recent years has actually gone in the opposite direction.'You can't get rid of them,' Harry Wilson, a professor at Roanoke College in Virginia -- near the scene of the latest shooting -- told AFP. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: Police cordon off the scene in lower Manhattan where two people were shot at the Federal Immigration Court on August 21, 2015 in New York City. One man was killed and another injured in the late afternoon shooting. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
CENTENNIAL, CO - JULY 16: Tom Teves, the father of Aurora shooting victim Alex Teves, is iterviewed after a verdict was delivered in the trial of James Holmes at the Arapahoe County Justice Center on July 16, 2015 in Centennial, Colorado. Holmes was found guilty on all counts in the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. (Photo by Theo Stroomer/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - JUNE 20: About 1,000 people participate in the March for Black Lives in support of the nine people shot to death at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Church earlier this week and for others killed by police violence June 20, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Suspect Dylann Roof, 21, was arrested and charged in the killing of nine people during a prayer meeting in the church, one of the nation's oldest black churches in the South. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A woman protests against domestic violence as she joins other women's rights advocates in an International Women's Day march in downtown Los Angeles, California on March 8, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPT 15: Beth Ferrier of Denver wipes away a tear as she listens to testimony from other women who describe being victims of sexual assault. Ferrier, along with Helen Hayes from Morin County, CA, left, and Heidi Thomas, far right, say they were victims of assault by Bill Cosby. They sit at a table with Rep. Rhonda Fields, second from right. Accusers in the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby join Rep. Rhonda Fields in a stakeholders meeting inside the Colorado State Capitol in Denver to discuss a bill written by Fields to abolish the Statute of Limitations in sexual assault crimes and cases. (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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"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....'" Barrett said.
"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,'" Barrett continued.
"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."
Although eventually both charges were dismissed in court, it took a year for Picard to clear his name, and he has since filed a suit for the violation of his constitutional rights in the incident.