Connecticut Cop Threatens Activist with Arrest for Warning Motorists of DUI Checkpoint
HARTFORD CT – Michael Picard of East Hartford was sign waving on a public sidewalk Sunday evening, warning unsuspecting motorists of a police checkpoint when a Hartford Police sergeant threatened and later promised to arrest Picard if he didn’t stop his protest.
Picard was holding a sign which read, “Cops Ahead. Keep calm and remain silent” and was about an hour into his peaceful protest when Sergeant Early of the Hartford Police department stops his vehicle in the middle of the road and ironically makes claim that Picard was obstructing traffic. Sergeant Early first asks Picard what he was doing and after Picard answered, “standing up with a sign.” Early responded by saying, “Can’t stand over here, sir.”
Picard didn’t back down and instead stood up for his right to stand on a public sidewalk and redress his grievances.
“I can stand on the sidewalk… it’s a First Amendment right.”
After some back and forth between the officer and Picard, the officer escalates the situation with a threat. A threat of arrest for allegedly “distracting traffic.” Sergeant Early barks from his squad car…
“O.K., I’ll put you in a public jail cell, too, if I come back over here, I promise you”
The officer drove away without ever stepping foot outside of the vehicle and Picard continued his protest amongst the threats and intimidation levied by the officer. Picard writes in the video description…
I continued to stand there for over an hour, as protesting on a public sidewalk is a clearly established First Amendment right. I was not blocking pedestrian traffic, nor was I impeding or blocking vehicle traffic. Sergeant Early never returned and I was not arrested. You do not have to comply with unlawful orders.
Unfortunately, this is not Picard’s first time being harassed by the Hartford Police Department. In a July of 2015 video, Picard was standing on the very same sidewalk when an unidentified Hartford officer can be seen driving the wrong way on a highway so he could stop and take a picture of Picard. When asked why he was driving the wrong way on a highway when not en route to an emergency, the officer simply replied, “I’m a law enforcement officer, I can do that,” contrary to the law (Connecticut CGA 14-283). The officer then proceeds to cut off and stop traffic, illegally parks on an exit ramp for a few moments, then drives away. But not before getting honked at by a few upset motorists.
It’s clear that Picard is having an impact on Hartford’s Nazi style sobriety checkpoints, otherwise police would likely leave him alone.
The video encourages viewers to call the Hartford Police department at 860-757-4000, or to email the chief, [email protected]