Connecticut Troopers Sued Over Arrest of Protester

A civil liberties group filed a lawsuit against three Connecticut state troopers and said they illegally retaliated against a protester at a drunken driving checkpoint by arresting him on bogus criminal charges. 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut filed a lawsuit Thursday against troopers John Barone, Patrick Torneo and John Jacobi for alleged civil rights violations. 

The lawsuit says Barone confiscated Michael Picard's legally carried pistol, pistol permit and camera at a sobriety checkpoint in West Hartford on Sept. 11, 2015, on the pretext of public complaints. 

The ACLU says the troopers then got together and fabricated charges, not knowing that they were still being recorded by Picard's camera. 

The charges against Picard were later dismissed in court. 

A state police spokeswoman and the three troopers didn't immediately return messages Thursday and the state attorney general's office declined to comment. 

The state police union, however, released a statement on Friday, calling the lawsuit "frivilous" and said the video was "deceptively edited." They went on to say that the fact that the charges against Picard were dropped does not mean he is innocent.

"The Troopers in this case – and all State Troopers -- respect the rights of every citizen while putting their own lives on the line to keep the public safe and snsure the law is enforced," a statement from the union says. 

"While some use their free time to harass and provoke law enforcement officers who are trying to save lives by identifying drunk (sic) drivers, the men and women of the Connecticut State Police Union appreciate that the vast majority of people understand the dangerous work our Troopers do to keep us all safe," the statement says.  

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