Adam C. Weinstein has sued the Belleville, IL police department alleging a violation of his constitutional rights. Media reports do not indicate whether the police officer in question is being sued personally. (Editor's Note: I really hope that he is.)
Weinstein was arrested in 2006 outside a bar in Belleville, IL for "impersonating a police officer."
According to the lawsuit, a waitress told Weinstein that some police officers wanted to speak with him outside the bar. At the time, Weinstein was wearing a black t-shirt with the word "POLICE" typed across the front.
Weinstein went outside and was greeted by Belleville Police Officer Jeff Vernatti. Vernatti, Weinstein alleges, asked him for his police credentials. Weinstein says he told the officer he didn’t have any credentials because he wasn’t a police officer.
That’s when, according to Weinstein, the police officer started screaming curse words and became physically and verbally abusive. Weinstein says he was cuffed, but later released by the officer. He also says that he was made to take the t-shirt off while standing in the cold.
Weinstein was ticketed for impersonating a police officer. The ticket ONLY ALLEGED THAT WEINSTEIN WORE THE SHIRT. Nothing else! The ticket was eventually dismissed. Now Weinstein is suing.
Holy cow! What an idiot. I'll bet this officer also wants to arrest all 40 million people who bought NYPD hats after 9-11 for "impersonating fire fighters." Seems to me that one should be free from arrest for the words printed on his clothing under the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, but maybe I am wrong. We'll wait to see how this one plays out.
Have a safe and happy new year.