By Matt Agorist
Stamford, CT — Free speech and liberty activist, Michael Picard had harmed no one, had not committed a crime, and was merely expressing his right to free speech by claiming the Stamford PD dislikes free speech. Indeed, within just a few minutes, the chief of police himself came out to prove Picard right.
Last Thursday, Picard held a sign that said, “F*ck Free Speech —Stamford PD,” merely attempting to point out the gross violations of the First Amendment committed by the department after they arrested another activist, Michael Friend, for holding up a different sign warning drivers of a distracted driving checkpoint ahead.
Friend was appearing before a judge last week after being charged with allegedly interfering in police duties by warning drivers of a checkpoint ahead. Because Friend was arrested for merely expressing his free speech by holding up a sign that said “Cops Ahead” to warn drivers, Picard went to the courthouse to voice his concern.
Picard had on his GoPro camera which filmed the entire interaction; however, police confiscated it as evidence after his arrest. Luckily, Picard’s friend, Dawud Talib, was also at the courthouse to film the interaction.
After a few minutes in front of the courthouse, Picard was confronted by Police Chief Jon Fontneau, who warned the free speech activist to stop expressing himself, or go to jail.
Picard, knowing he was well within his rights to hold this sign up in front of a courthouse, refused. In response to Picard’s refusal to censor himself, Fontneau had him arrested and handcuffed. Picard was subsequently charged with breach of peace.
“I found the sign to be offensive in front of police headquarters as people are coming in and out,” Fontneau said. “I don’t think our day-to-day residents should have to put up with something like that.”
That decision, however, it not up to Fontneau. Indeed, this precedent has already been established in the United States Supreme Court case, Cohen v. California. The Court overturned a man’s conviction for the “crime” of disturbing the peace for wearing a jacket in the courthouse that displayed the phrase, “F*ck the Draft.”
Picard could not comment specifically on the case, however, he did note that “They have a checkpoint for everything nowadays,” adding, “They can’t stop infringing on your rights.”
TFTP spoke with Picard’s attorney, Joseph R. Sastre who explained how unjust this charge against his client is.
Connecticut’s breach of peace statute reads as follows:
A person is guilty of breach of the peace in the second degree when, with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, such person: (1) Engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior in a public place; or (2) assaults or strikes another; or (3) threatens to commit any crime against another person or such other person’s property; or (4) publicly exhibits, distributes, posts up or advertises any offensive, indecent or abusive matter concerning any person; or (5) in a public place, uses abusive or obscene language or makes an obscene gesture; or (6) creates a public and hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which such person is not licensed or privileged to do. For purposes of this section, “public place” means any area that is used or held out for use by the public whether owned or operated by public or private interests.
“I think the first sentence says it all,” Sastre told TFTP. “A person is acting like a mere fool when he sets out with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm. Charging protesters with this statute section, or another like it, sends a message that the police don’t think you have an opinion on anything. No, to them, a guy holding a sign is just an attention seeker, out to make a spectacle of himself. It is the equivalent of the abusive husband who tells his wife to ‘stop acting so hysterical’ when she tries to get him to consider her feelings, or to treat her better.”
For those who follow TFTP closely, you’ve probably seen our reports on Picard before, which is why the police department may have it out for him.
In 2015, Picard was also arrested for his free speech. That time, however, police confiscated his phone and then proceeded to record themselves trying to fabricate ways to charge this innocent man.
“To me, Michael Picard’s case, and Michael Friend’s for that matter, makes it clear that the Stamford Police Department needs new leadership.” Sastre noted. “But what is even more distressing to me about this case is that the Stamford Police seem to have reached out to a prosecutor in the courthouse to ask how to deal with a man holding a sign, and that the prosecutor suggested that he be arrested. Proving once again that freedom of speech really only means that you have the right to say, as loudly as you want, that you agree with the police state.”
If you’d like to peacefully voice your concern about the video below, you can do so at the Stamford Police Facebook page here.
Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appeared. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Facebook.
Arresting someone for holding a cops ahead sign is ridiculous.
Re: Pickard – I applaud his activism – but do you really need to use the f@ck word on your signs? Could you have accomplished the same point without it? Many don’t want young children exposed to that type of language.
Re: his attorney – does that word on that sign fall under “(5) in a public place, uses abusive or obscene language or makes an obscene gesture;”. It might. If os, it is braech of peace under CT statutes.
I have a bit of a historical story on the F-word. During the centuries long wars between France and England, more specifically the Napoleonic Wars, England had very good archers and archer units. The French boasted that when they won, they would be cutting off the fletching fingers(middle and pointer) of the English archers. When England won; and in celebration and defiance, the archers and other fighters held up those fingers and shouted “Fletch this!” to the defeated French. People being people, one can assume that that act and symbol of defiance gravitated beyond the battle field and ‘enemies’, which is ok, but not to be used against those in authority and rule over you. So, we can discern that the middle finger and the phrases F-you and F-off originated with that. I know people whom have been caged for telling a judge to f-off and giving a cop the middle finger. Kakistocracies abhor anyone that fails to fall in line with their paradox of orthodoxy.
Thanks. That is an interesting history lesson. I did not know where it originated.
Sorry to hear people are in jail for such trivial things.
But re-read the article and reply comments. Matt didn’t put the correct wording of the sign in the title – did he? And you and I used different methods to convey the word. Why? Because George Carlin told us in his fantastic comedy act way back that the word is on the list that you can’t say on TV. And existing filters on these sites would not have allowed the comments to post, correct?
Let’s face it, we all say that word gathered around tables with our friends or in heated arguments. But the vast majority of us would not use it when gathered around the Thanksgiving meal table with granny and our two 6 years nieces. Why? Respect for our elders and the preservation of our youth’s innocence.
“Screw free speech” would have been more effective and Pickard would have a great case against the state if they arrested him for it. But if Matt is correct re the Supreme Court case (Cohen vs CA) then Pickard has a good challenge that the portion of the CT statute (#5) item is unconstitutional and needs to be removed from the books.
BUT we must all remember the role of activists is to alert the public to these wrong doings and gain their support. These f-words don’t usually help the causes we fight. They turn the general public off.
These guys are going about it the wrong way. What they should be doing is educating people on the fact that the legal system and its henchmen/road pirates work in collusion to provide each other with more business. Not even ONE of these fake cops or fake judges or fake LIEyers will EVER agree to signing a pledge under the penalties of perjury to not commit fraud upon you, or allow anyone else to commit fraud upon you at any time. It’s because the legal system is built upon fraud and requires fraud every single minute to operate!! If you don’t want to believe that, just look up what fraud means in the law dictionary of your choosing, and then you will see that I am absolutely correct on all points. Take away their fraudulent money making schemes by exposing them for what they are, a scam of some kind, and all of them will lose their revenue stream and cease to exist!!
If you read my paper The Scam of the Legal System, you will see more than you ever thought you’d learn about the legal system’s crimes in one place!
Excellently said. And I concur.
Does that mean that you are going to spread the words of truth that I write??
As soon as any amount of fraud is exposed, it puts the brakes on the entire shebang, because the operators of the legal system already KNOW that they are committing fraud upon us all, and we have no obligation to put up with it! That means their revenue stream has just been cut down by that much and they have to dismiss the case because they cannot go any further. They hit a brick wall that’s ten feet thick! After they hit too many brick walls, they will run out of “money” that they were robbing from us and then they all go broke!
ALL courts are businesses and are listed on Dunn & Broadstreet as such! So take away their profits and they all go bankrupt!!
I heard a judge referring to someone who did not pay a fine and said this person did not take care of business. That is when I realized it is a business. They are mafia and make an offer you can’t refuse. They don’t break legs. They imprison and use lethal force if they are met with resistance.
Every court in America is listed in Dunn & Bradstreet as a business because that is what they all are! These fake judges get paid by the State for convictions many times, so that is what they are after. They get 30% of civil judgments put into their “retirement fund” and the IRS used to pay these fake judges 10K in CASH for each conviction! “A judge taking a bribe in a case does not give the appearance of justice”. Look up “justice must satisfy the appearance of justice”.
If you expose their frauds, just like looking under the other two shells for the hidden pea, they have no excuse to offer up for trying to cheat you! They are caught dead to rights then!!
The D&B info was news to me and proves what I suspected. They are all disgusting creatures. They provide nothing of value. They are pencil pushers who dream up gibberish to put on paper. They write magic words on paper and call it ‘the law’ and hire mindless idiots to enforce their will upon everyone else. They are a den of vipers. There is no justice because criminals control it. That is why it is called the criminal justice system. Utter disgust and contempt goes to them. They have the gall to demand respect and if not they call it contempt of court and imprison people acting as if they are the moral authority with the high ground. The only reason anyone goes along with them is because of fear of their use of force. They are like bullies in school who never grew up.
Ever hear of Three Card Monte? It’s a scam, and once you know how it works, you’ll never get ripped off by it again! The same way with the legal system; once enough people learn how the scam works, not enough people will want to play the rigged up “game” any longer. So, that dubious “business” will go OUT of business!!
Now it’s up to YOU to help spread the good word far and wide!! The legal system is a fraud, scam, artifice, con game and NO ONE has an obligation to be ripped off by it!!
Last time I was called for jury duty I refused to sign their card and I refused to pledge any oaths. I told them the jury summons was a threat and the oath was against God. To my surprise I was selected as a juror and they showed me respect.
I hope these power tripping pigs get murdered for treason.
It wouldn’t be murder at all, it would be pure justice being carried out for the crime of treason being committed.
Please advise us when the false arrest case comes up in court.