Police: “Shut up or get ticketed” – Vermont traffic stop leads to federal civil rights dispute (VIDEO)
Rod MacIver received a faulty ticket in December which lead him to suing the small Vermont town of Shelburne. He arrived at court to fight the complaint but the judge in small claims court had to postpone the hearing. The police officers who were defending themselves were advised by their attorney to skip the court date and go to a local coffee shop instead. Now the ACLU has gotten involved and slapped the town with twin federal civil rights cases.
The ACLU believes that the officers violated MacIver’s Fourth Amendment rights in pulling him over for no reason and his First Amendment rights when the officer told him to “shut up or get ticketed”. Police initially argued that their video showed a violation, but then conceded later he was wrong and the man apparently committed no crime. Now the police are left to fight off MacIver and the ACLU.
The traffic stop in question:
MacIver has set up a website to draw attention to his case. On it he writes
“I’ve set up this website because I’ve had three contacts with the Shelburne Vermont Police Department and in all three instances, including once in court under oath, the officers of that department have been deliberately deceptive and dishonest. For instance, please see the judge’s reaction to the testimony of Officer Jason Lawton in “Court Testimony.” Dishonesty seems to be ingrained in the culture there and encouraged, or at least condoned, by the management of that department (see email from Sergeant Allen Fortin under “Complaint”).
The assumption seems to be that dishonesty is okay because it is unlikely that the general public will ever find out about one-on-one dealings between the public and its officers. I’ve set up this website to prove their assumption incorrect.
Basically, I was pulled over in the middle of the night for no reason, and when I objected, admittedly in strong terms, the officer gave me a ticket for something he knew I didn’t do — run a red light.”