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Rivera Lawsuit

Rivera Lawsuit

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Published by Colin Daileda
Pedro Rivera's complaint against two officers of the Hartford, Conn. police department.
Pedro Rivera's complaint against two officers of the Hartford, Conn. police department.

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Published by: Colin Daileda on Feb 20, 2014
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/21/2014

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UNITED ST TES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT
O
CONNECTICUT
PEDRO RIVERA, Plaintiff,
v.
BRIAN FOLEY, EDWARD YERGEAU, HARTFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendants. cv FEBRUARY
18
2014
COMPL INT
1. This
is
an
action alleging violation of the plaintiff s federal constitutional rights: specifically his Fourth Amendment right to
be
free from unreasonable seizures, and his First Amendment right to freedom of expression. 2. The jurisdiction of this Court
is
invoked under the provisions of Sections
1331
and 1343(3) of Title 28 and, 42 U.S.C. Sections 1983 and 1988. 3. At all times relevant to this action, the plaintiff, Pedro Rivera, was
an
adult resident of the State of Connecticut, residing
in
Hartford. 4. At all times relevant to this action, Brian Foley was a lieutenant
in
the Hartford Police Department, acting under color of his authority as a police officer.
He
is sued
in
his individual capacity only. 5. At all times relevant to this action, Edward Yergeau was a sergeant
in
the Hartford Police Department, acti
ng
under color of his authority as a police officer.
He
is
sued
in
his individual capacity only.
 
6
The City of Hartford
is
a municipal entity organized and operating under the laws of the State of Connecticut. The city maintains a police department for the protection of persons within municipal boundaries. 7.
On
February 1,2014, the plaintiff heard
on
a police scanner that there was a serious motor vehicle accident
in
the City of Hartford.
He
responded to the scene
o
the accident, where he operated a remote-controlled model aircraft, colloquially known
as
a drone, he owns to hover over the accident scene and to record visual images
o
the accident scene. His device was hovering at an altitude of 150 feet. At all times relevant to this action, the plaintiff was standing outside of the area denoted as the crime scene
by
officers responding to the accident.
He
was standing
in
a public place, operating his device
in
public space, observing events that were
in
plain view. 8. Although the plaintiff
is
employed as a photographer and editor at a local television station, he was not acting as
an
employee
o
the television station at the time, a fact he made clear to police officers who were also at the accident scene, including defendant Yergeau and others. 9. The plaintiff did acknowledge to defendant Yergeau and others that he does, from time to time, forward the video feed from his drone to the television station for which he works. 10. While at the scene of the accident, defendant Yergeau and other uniformed members of the Hartford Police Department surrounded the plaintiff, demanded his identification card, and asked him questions about what he was doing.
 
The plaintiff did not feel as though he were free to leave during the course of this questioning.
11
. Defendant Yergeau and other uniformed members of the Hartford Police Department demanded that the plaintiff cease operating the device over the accident scene, and that he leave the area.
12
The plaintiff was not
in
violation of any state or federal law when the officers stopped him, detained him, and then ordered him to stop flying his device over the crime scene and to leave the area.
13
The plaintiff was not operating a civil aircraft within the meaning
o
any state or federal regulations when the officers stopped him, detained him, and then ordered him
to
stop flying his device over the crime scene and to leave the area.
14
Private citizens do not need local, state or federal approval to operate a remote-controlled model aircraft.
15
. There was no probable cause, or arguable probable cause, to believe that the plaintiff was
in
violation
o
any law or regulatory requirement when defendant Yergeau and other uniformed members of the Hartford Police Department detained
him
.
16
The actions
o
defendant Yergeau and other uniformed members
o
the Hartford Police Department were intentional and inspired by improper motive, to wit: to impede the exercise
o
the plaintiff's First Amendment rights in monitoring the police response to a motor vehicle accident.
17
Immediately after the plaintiff was ordered to leave the crime scene, defendant Foley contacted the plaintiff's employer, and spoke to one of the plaintiff's

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