Something to Hold Over Their Heads – Education

Three years ago, independent journalist Phillip Datz was ordered to leave a public street where a police stop was occurring. After moving, he called the Suffolk County Police Department’s public information officer who told him, essentially, he was fine. When he started to record again, Suffolk County Police Sergeant Michael Milton arrested him.

Earlier on the recording Sergeant Milton said, “There’s nothing you can hold over my head or anybody out there.” Turns out, he wasn’t quite right.

Datz filed a federal civil rights lawsuit and the Suffolk County Police Department has now settled the suit for $200,000 and – more importantly – agreed that all of its officers must now go through annual First Amendment training.

The money is nice, the education is priceless.

Mark E. Johnson

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