Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Notice of Intent to Sue Filed for Civil Rights Violations

Attorney Scott D. Camassar has filed a notice of intent to sue the Town of Groton and the Groton Police on behalf of a 38-year-old man who was subject to an illegal search and seizure of firearms in December 2008, just weeks after the police denied his application for a temporary pistol permit. The man had applied for a permit believing that a 1997 larceny charge had been nolled and that he did not have a felony criminal record. Police records, however, show a conviction and suspended sentence.

On December 26, 2008, members of the Groton Police Department entered the man's residence without his consent, without a warrant and without probable cause that a crime had been or was about to be committed, and proceeded to search the residence for weapons they claimed were on the premises. The officers threatened and intimidated the man and his pregnant wife and coerced him into opening a locked safe in which an unloaded handgun was stored. Next, officers placed him in a police vehicle and drove him to his mother's house in New London, where they confiscated a shotgun. He alleges various violations of his constitutional and statutory rights, including: an unlawful search and seizure of property in violation of the 4th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article I, § 7 of the Connecticut constitution; a violation of his right against self-incrimination and deprivation of liberty and property in violation of the 5th and 14th Amendments and Art. I, § 8 of the Connecticut constitution; deprivation of the right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state in violation of Art. I, § 15 of the Connecticut constitution and other federal and state statutes; and a violation of procedural due process by seizing his firearms without authority or determining that he posed an imminent threat of personal injury to himself or others, and without providing him a hearing after the seizure. He alleges officers threatened, intimidated and forcibly restrained him without cause or justification and caused him to be embarrassed and humiliated in front of his neighbors and friends.

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