Citizen Captures Connecticut Troopers Discussing Charges Against Protester To “Cover Our Asses”

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 9.41.22 AMA new citizen videotape has triggered an internal police investigation of Connecticut State troopers who are heard discussing charges for Michael Picard, 27, who was warning citizens of a DUI checkpoint. One of the officers is heard to say “we gotta cover our asses.” The officers are also heard threatening the citizen recording them. The police union has said that the officers acted appropriately.

Picard was standing near a state police DUI enforcement checkpoint near the on-ramp to I-84 on Park Road at about 7 p.m. holding a sign that read “Cops ahead. Keep calm and remain silent.” The troopers are shown discussing any possible charges to levy against Picard.

Picard is first told that it is illegal to record the troopers. The videotape is another example of the value of videotape in the proving of police abuse. We have been following the continuing abuse of citizens who are detained or arrested for filming police in public. (For prior columns, click here and here). Despite consistent rulings upholding the right of citizens to film police in public, these abuses continue.

When Picard objects that he is allowed to tape officers, he is told that he is on “state property.” That would seem a highly questionable claim that treats public property as state property for the purpose of banning citizen videotaping. One officer identified as Trooper First Class John Barone is captured in this exchange:

“It is illegal to take my picture,” Barone told him. “Personally, it’s illegal.”

“No, it isn’t,” Picard told him.

“Did you get any documentation I’m allowing you to take my picture?”

“No, but you’re on public property,” Picard told him. “You have no expectation of pri ….”

“No, I’m not,” Barone responded. “I’m on state property. I’m on state property.”

The officer is then heard asking the other officers “Want me to punch a number on this? We gotta cover our asses.” One responds “Let’s give him something.” The police then confront Picard about his possession of gun, but Picard explains that he has an open carry permit. He was detained for 40 minutes to check that claim but then given citations for other crimes.

The officers appear to be working out the possible crime theory with one saying “I think we do simple trespass, we do reckless use of the highway and creating a public disturbance.” Another says “and then we claim, um, in backup we had multiple people, um, they didn’t want to stay and give us a statement, so we took our own course of action.”

When Picard got to court on his $178 ticket, a prosecutor offered to nullify the charges if he paid a $25 fine. He refused. However, critics say that the purpose of the citation had already served its purpose: to stop a citizen from exercising his right to both protest and videotape police. It further imposed a penalty in making him appear in court and fight the citations.

Here is the videotape posted on YouTube:

What do you think? If you believe that the officers were manufacturing charges, what is the appropriate punishment for the officers?

60 thoughts on “Citizen Captures Connecticut Troopers Discussing Charges Against Protester To “Cover Our Asses”

  1. I say they should be fired. Set an example of public accountability. Not likely to happen, but it should. If the department won’t hold them accountable, sue them, and get legislation into play that gives greater accountability to public officials and officers and punishments for abusing authority.

  2. QUOTE “The police union has said that the officers acted appropriately.”

    Ok, anyone that knows Unions knows that they are required by law to stand up for the union member, even if wrong. (Which is why a lot of people think Unions are bad….but the law REQUIRES them to act that way or be sued, so it’s actually the law that is bad.)

    As for the cops, they need to get reprimanded & punished…I actually don’t know WHY they would even bother to dink with the guy…

  3. Fire them. It won’t happen, but I can dream.

    I read (maybe here, forgot) that police petition hard for their own separate Police Bill of Rights, above and beyond that afforded to all citizens.

    They defecate all over the Constitution (which they swore to uphold) for little peons that pay their handsome wages and benefits (estimated cost per FTE about $100k minimum average), then have the gonads to demand their own separate rights when they get busted for their criminal activity.

  4. In CT Filing a false police report can result in severe penalties such as fines and jail time? (Falsely reporting an incident in the first degree (CONN. GEN. STAT. § 53a-180)) it would seem appropriate that the officers should be fired and charged with filing a false police report and receive the maximum sentence just for a start.

  5. Is it illegal to have in your hand a duly registered weapon with a permit to carry? Barone has no expectation of privacy and I don’t need his permission to photograph while he is going about his duties as a servant of the State and the people whose tax money pay his salary.

  6. Why would someone object to police stopping those who are driving under the influence? Unfortunately police are volatile when they are policing in a culture of guns, inebriation, and ignorance.

  7. The basic question is a statistical one. How many cops really know what rights a citizen possesses? Did these cops even know that the guy had a right to videotape them? It is possible First Amendment ignorance et al is widespread in Copdom.

  8. Good for Mr. Picard – a brave man fighting for all of us.

    Many cops fear be recorded because they routinely violate both local laws and the Bill of Rights.

    Plus being recorded offends their sense of the “proper order” – them giving orders and us quaking in subservient fear.

    By the way Doglover, you appear to be the kind of citizen that the cops would like all of us to be.

  9. Politicians are to blame for most of this, by the Militarization of our Police and pandering to fear for votes. Neighborhoods are not Battlefields. This US and them attitude is making the Police an occupying force.

    Police have become revenue enforces out pilfering the working class not protecting them. If politicians would stop passing laws that benefit those who Profit on the privatisation of government services we would all be safer. Police are forced by Politicians to arrest, fine, suspend, revoke and enforce the People for their budgets. Private company then profit on the enforcement. Innocent working people cannot afford an attorney and wind up having to plea in order to say out of Jail and pay huge fines, suspensions to support this system. If you do not plea there is the for Profit Prison system that is there to take what little you have left for the profit of Stockholders billing the taxpayers.

    Police Unions may very well be what some Politicians hoped for. By defending bad Policing Unions do a terrible disservice to the Labor Movement. This is a win win for Conservatives who profit on the misery of people and like when Police Unions give all org labor a bad name in this us against them policy of Policing by law for profit and taxes.

    I cannot believe Orwell was wrong and as long as we are Constitutionally protected surveillance of Police may be what balances all this out.

  10. Ignorance of the law is no excuse except if your job is enforcing the law. In that case it’s outrageously unfair to expect them to know the law.

  11. Clearly, they’re fabricating crimes on what they’ve admitted is hearsay (“We got reports from motorists coming by that the weapon was in your hand”). How could anyone in his or her right mind think these officers should be allowed to remain in law enforcement entrusted with public safety, let alone their duty to testify truthfully as witnesses to crime?

    The only thing about their job they’re taking seriously is covering their arses.

  12. A bit of CT. history. Abe Ribicoff, Governor of Ct. back in the 50-60’s. He was a good Democrat that cut govt. He did away w/ almost all County govt. Reasoning CT is a small state geographically, the County layer of govt. was often wasteful. One of the agencies that got chopped was County Sheriff Departments. That was good. What was bad was the CT State Police filled that void and evolved into a monster. They are the local police in most rural areas, the chief investigative agency in the state, and now a powerful monolith.

  13. 1. Clearly there is a need for nationwide explanation to all police departments and their officers that it is legal for citizens to tape them in public (which obviously includes state owned property). Just as citizens who act like jackasses in public should assume they are always on someone’s cell phone camera, cops should assume they are talking over a loudspeaker and their parents, friends, and church/synagogue/mosque are all watching. So be on your best behavior.
    2. Cops who are proven to manufacture charges are unfit for duty. They should face dismissal or at least a very serious reprimand.
    3. Unions tend to make it very difficult to fire anyone for cause, which illustrates one of the foundational problems for unions, whether it’s teacher or police unions.
    4. Any abuse of power should also remind people why it is unwise to keep allowing government bureaucracies more power over individuals. Power corrupts, and those with weak character especially will take advantage. So don’t give government too much say over your life, such as health care. Especially if you allow its employees to be very difficult to fire for wrongdoing (such as when their deliberate fraud caused the death of vets languishing at the VA.)
    5. It is important to foster public trust, and such acts erodes that trust. The police department must have a track record of fairness and justice.
    6. I feel concealed carry is far more effective than open carry, unless it’s hunting season. You’re just going to cause a lot of unwarranted 911 calls that clog up the system, and the element of surprise gives an advantage if you truly need it. Plus, if criminals never know who might be carrying, then they will be less likely to assault anyone. It reminds me of that Janet Ivanovich book where Stephanie Plum bragged about having a gun in her purse at a hair salon in Trenton, NJ. Every woman there pulled a firearm out of her handbag to compare.
    7. Criticism of the abuses of unions is obviously not profiting off the misery of people. The vast majority of people in the private sector heel-toe it through life without unions making them un-fireable. There are already unlawful termination laws in CA that protect against abuses. It’s ridiculous to claim that you’re a bad person if you oppose unions. Unions have become like organized crime, even becoming physically violent against “Scabs.” I oppose abuse, which is the moral high ground.

  14. A couple of things jump out.
    First, this guy was prepared, and got exactly what he was prepared for – his day in court.
    Second, the police should be taught about this and it should be a lesson for all police – You have to let these people be. Confronting them is not a viable choice to make. Just do your job and go on down the road.
    Third – it is a necessary evil that these things must play out. At least he was not booked and he will get the matter dismissed.

  15. It seems to be an appropriate stand off. Picard is a trouble maker, looking for a cause, creating the situation. He was not stopped going about his day. He was confronted for confronting the police. The police should simply ignore him and he will go home. The police should be trained to not get baited like this. This is not worthy of illustrating the problem with police abusing their powers. Lame post.

  16. It is my opinion the officer who signed the citation should be charged with either perjury or false reporting. The others participating, perhaps inchoately, also should face prosecution.

    This is a serious violation, more so than what those outside the police world might realize. Each one of these officers involved now faces the probability of being labeled Brady Cops and their testimony will be tainted in future cases. The Sergeant involved will most likely be demoted if not outright sacked because he not only failed to prevent this unlawful citation but he helped justify it.

    I could see this matter swept under the rug if it was some Podunk PD where the town government is intermarried but as a state police agency, it’s going to be dealt with seriously because the cat’s out of the bag and they have to force the matter before someone at the top gets their hands dirty.

  17. For those who feel the need to document their interactions with others, there are a number and variety of apps and programs that securely upload videos from cellphones to ‘the cloud’. The resulting videos cannot be accessed/altered/erased by unauthorized parties. One such source is:

  18. Where in the Hell are the Cops, Lawyers & Judges at in Defending the 4th Amendment against these Illegal DUI checkpoints? No Where!!! American Hating Scum.

    Why is the US govt involved in funding these State Roads DUI check points in the 1st place? It’s none of USG Biz!

    The number of drinks one can have legally has dropped almost in half now from since I was a kid too almost no drinks at all.

    Now the DOT is thinking about cutting it in half again.

    Hell, at that point if I even look at a beer bottle cap the gov wil attempt to claim you & I are all Drunk. Phk’in bass tard Tyrants!

    Now, below is what appears to be a video is from a very decent American, a retired cop, explaining some legal points about the suspected murder of Lavoy Finicum.

  19. {Where in the Hell are the Cops, Lawyers & Judges at in Defending the 4th Amendment against these Illegal DUI checkpoints? No Where!!! American Hating Scum. }

    BTW: By no means to I wish to paint all Cops, Lawyers & Judges as bad, but there are many that are.

  20. Darren:

    Wouldn’t this also taint their testimony in prior criminal cases that hinged on their word, and open the door to getting convictions overturned?

  21. Karen S

    I am not specifically familiar with the criminal procedure in this particular state, but I can imagine there certainly may be possibilities if prior cases relied heavily on the testimony of officers later convicted of perjury.

    Someone in the know should provide a better answer than I can.

  22. Darren – if I was a defense attorney where these cops are, I would copy this video and use it against any testimony they would use in court. Goes to the credibility of the witness, your Honor!

  23. There is a law against everything.

    If America were free, people would be required to accept the outcome of freedom.

    Swift and sure justice within a body of law about the size of the Ten Commandments is all that is necessary.

    Most of the time, Americans don’t get caught. If America doubled its police force, the entire population would be in prison for something.

    All of the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination were hanged by the neck until dead within 3 months.

  24. Oky1 Thanks for being awake regarding the Oregon “standoff’ that wasn’t. The whole thing makes me sick and all Darren Smith (the moderator here) can do is make fun of misspellings in a protest sign and point out an error in a video. So many just miss that these good ordinary people are displaying extraordinary courage in trying to save ALL of our ass*s including the ignorant intelligentsia who apparently are superlative spellers and God d*mn it; they know how to construct a sentence!

    Hands up and shot dead.

  25. Michael Picard is a total ween-bag in need of a serious beatdown. He’s another George Zimmerman waiting to happen. The world would be a much better place without him.

  26. Hildegaard writes, “these good ordinary people are displaying extraordinary courage . . .”

    It would take extraordinary courage to jump off the Empire State Building, but unless there’s some reasonable basis for doing it the courage is like drain water flowing toward the sea.

    There was a five-year mandatory minimum sentence set by Congress. The federal court had no authority to deviate from that sentence and the appellate panel made that plenty clear.

    Imagine what would have happened had Occupy Wall Street been an armed resistance.

    I hope I’ve spelled correctly everything in this post. I apologize for the contractions, but the reason for them is that, well, I’m lazy, sort like Cliven Bundy relying on government freebies.

  27. Steve and Monty. Way to go boys, You never even watched the video or considered the other side of the story. Why bother commenting at all? I can watch CNN if I want your one sided opinion.

  28. stevegroen, Monty Z,

    Have you gents never learned the art of research or is it you’re to high on something?

    Or maybe you don’t understand property Rights being you’re in your late 30’s and still living in your grand ma’s basement?

    stevegreon: “I hope I’ve spelled correctly everything in this post. I apologize for the contractions, but the reason for them is that, well, I’m lazy, sort like Cliven Bundy relying on government freebies.”

    Federal Judge: BLM Engaged In A Criminal Conspiracy Against Ranchers

    Print The Alex Jones Channel Alex Jones Show podcast Prison Planet TV Twitter Alex Jones’ Facebook Infowars store

    Court opinion exposes BLM’s true intent against Cliven Bundy

    Kit Daniels
    April 17, 2014

    For over 20 years, the Bureau of Land Management engaged in a “literal, intentional conspiracy” against Nevada ranchers to force them out of business, according to a federal judge whose court opinion exposes the BLM’s true intent against rancher Cliven Bundy.

  29. Enough for you now, but more later if you wish to be punks, trolls or assorted American hating trash.

    I’ll wait to see you boyz true colors first.

  30. All too common in Law Enforcement. It is not only unethical, it is also unlawful to “fish” for charges as a way to exercise authority over a situation you may dislike. This is enforcing the letter of the law only, which is wrong. Read COPS vs. The Constitution. Good book:)

  31. Oky1, does Cliven Bundy owe $1,200,000.00 or more in grazing fees or not? On his theory, he could have grazed his cows in the Rose Garden.

    And is the federal government entitled to decide use of its land or not?

    Finally, when is armed resistance anything other than insurrection?

    Insurrection’s fine, but you better have a good enough reason. Cliven and son never had one.

  32. oky1: Speaking of American hating trash….

    In the first place, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, not BLM, so whatever. It’s a little like invading Iraq because of the actions of a small group of terrorists based in Afghanistan.

    Secondly, I watched the video hildegard linked to and I’m not convinced that Bonehead Finicum was summarily shot down as is asserted. The idiot was trying to pull his gun with every intention of going out in a blaze of glory. Well, he can scratch that off his bucket list now.

    The only thing wrong with the way the occupation is resolving is that this bunch of buttholes didn’t all “stand their ground” instead of scurrying away like a bunch of frightened rats. All, except for the four remaining brainiacs who won’t leave until they receive immunity for their unlawful behavior, which includes the vandalism of native American burial grounds.

    Frankly, because the native Americans never officially ceded the land to the United States, I always thought it was a good time for an old fashioned Indian war. Your cowboy punks would run like frightened little girls.

  33. stevegroen – should the federal government own more than half the land in the West while it own only the national parks in the East? All states are to become states equally, however the feds took land from the Western states which they never did from the Eastern states.

  34. Oky1; Thank you. You have more patience than I do.

    The Shooting of Lavoy Finicum Actual FOOTAGE.

    A thoughtful analysis. Questioning known liars.

  35. The federal government manages land on behalf of the owners, the American people. The ranching class are the original takers of this country. They took land from native Americans. They were given land by the federal government. And they continue to receive water, untainted water, courtesy of the federal government.

    The Bundy’s are tax cheats. The refuse to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of lands that they graze cattle on at a steeply discounted rate.

    BTW, Reagan was the one who refused to set aside those rates. If he were still president, the occupation would have been put down swiftly by any means necessary.

  36. Hildegard: Thank you for these videos. They’re hilarious! The dumb and dim-witted offer up self-serving delusional rants for the rabble. I love it! I’m sharing them with everyone I know.

    What I’d really like to see is some slow-mo footage of the shootout, ala Peckinpah. do you think you could find some? Please.

  37. Bundy’s, Finicum & others there were warned their protest was a bad strategy & they should leave & what for a better opportunity to air their grievances.

    I still support they should have left long ago.

    At least part of what the Bundy’s Nevada protest a year or so ago were arguing was under Article 1 Section 8.

    “To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;–And ”

    I don’t recall the complete argument, but I do recall it was shown that Sen Reid needed Bundy’s ranch so he could close a 5 Billion deal with the Chinese for Sen Reid’s son for a Solar Energy plant.

    I suggest people watch or listen to Infowars & read their site for at least 6 months so they might better form their opinions & knowledge of the facts instead of constantly arguing by pounding the table with neither the facts or the law on their side. Whether or not you agree with Infowars.

    {What Everyone Should Know About The Oregon Standoff }

  38. monty z – you have never lived in the West have you? You haven’t the foggiest notion of the history of the wars that went on in the West. Or the wars that continue to go on in the West.

  39. I am perfectly well aware of the wars that took place in the West, although some might call them massacres of innocent natives. The history of western expansion is replete with theft, treachery, and murder, along with generous handouts.

    Cowboys: The original welfare queens

  40. Ooh Rah Hildegard
    1, February 4, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Back in Scotland my family showed up for the battles. At the founding of this country my family showed up for battle fighting with the Virgina Continental line under Patrick Henry, ” Give me Liberty or give me Death”.

    Hildegard, my family has also fought on the side of just be honorable & decent as human beings.

    They were there at Normandy & Iwo Jima & most every where else guarding Freedom & Liberty.

    You, I & others have no other choice but to stay in the fight for freedom & liberty with our hands tied behind our backs because we must always remain honorable & decent.

    It can be gone & will be, have no doubt!

  41. Oky1; “Give me liberty or give me death” MUST be our level of commitment. Freedom is the highest value; even higher than love because without freedom there is no possibility of love. It seems people have forgotten what freedom is. We’re born into slavery and the natural instinct to rebel has been crushed from such an early age. Do we really have to lose all of our freedoms before people wake up? My hope lies in the fact that our country is YOUNG and the conditioning is not as deep as with countries much older than ours. We still have that rebellious spirit however buried it might appear.

    Osho on Gurdjieff’s last words to his disciples – ‘Bravo, America.”

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