Skip to comments.Police Officers Sue Over Police Surveillance of Their Protests (PBA Making a federal case)
Posted on 02/02/2006 7:35:27 PM PST by neverdem
The demonstrators arrived angry, departed furious. The police had herded them into pens. Stopped them from handing out fliers. Threatened them with arrest for standing on public sidewalks. Made notes on which politicians they cheered and which ones they razzed.
Meanwhile, officers from a special unit videotaped their faces, evoking for one demonstrator the unblinking eye of George Orwell's "1984."
"That's Big Brother watching you," the demonstrator, Walter Liddy, said in a deposition.
Mr. Liddy's complaint about police tactics, while hardly novel from a big-city protester, stands out because of his job: He is a New York City police officer. The rallies he attended were organized in the summer of 2004 by his union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, to protest the pace of contract talks with the city.
Now the officers, through their union, are suing the city, charging that the police procedures at their demonstrations many of them routinely used at war protests, antipoverty marches and mass bike rides were so heavy-handed and intimidating that their First Amendment rights were violated.
A lawyer for the city said the police union members were treated no differently than hundreds of thousands of people at other gatherings, with public safety and free speech both protected. The department observes all constitutional requirements, the city maintains.
The lawsuit by the police union brings a distinctive voice to the charged debate over how the city has monitored political protest since Sept. 11.
The dozen people who submitted affidavits said the interrogations went far beyond basics. Among the questions, they said, was whether the country would be better off if Al Gore had been elected, whether they hated President Bush, whether they belonged to other antiwar groups, what schools they attended, and whether they were politically active. The police denied asking those questions.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Sometimes I think that people want to get sued.
Cops can ask the questions. The people they ask don't have to answer.
These "Off-duty" police officers need to remember this when they interdict war protests, antipoverty marches, and mass bike rides. These off-duty LEO's are no different than any other group of citizens using their First Amendment rights. They should also remember who their "friends" are.
Big Brother is watching you
Hell, I'm at a loss to figure out just who to root for in this case. :)
Union thugs are union thugs -- whether or not they wear uniforms...
This isn't spying. The protesters are out in the open in plain view. One doesn't need a warrent to photograph people walking down the street.
This is a public display - by definition it can't be spying.
Summer of 2004? Isn't there a statute of limitations for this type of suit?
There probably is, but if it had expired, then what kind of schmucks does NYC have for lawyers?
The phrase "A pox on both your houses" was invented for such situations.
schmuck is an understatement for a NYC lawyer!
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