ACLU sues 3 Connecticut troopers over arrest of protester

michael picard

HARTFORD — A civil liberties group says in a lawsuit against three Connecticut state troopers that 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.

A state police spokeswoman and the three troopers didn’t immediately return messages Thursday.

On Friday, a spokesperson for the State Police Union called the lawsuit frivolous and predicted it would be dismissed. They called the video “deceptively edited.”

Even though the charges against Picard were later dismissed in court, the union said that “does not mean he is innocent.”