Ken Krayeske, a freelance journalist, photographer, and law student who was arrested while taking photographs during Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s inaugural parade in January, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Thursday against the City of Hartford and its police officers involved in his “false arrest.”
You already know the story.
Krayeske was put on a state police hit list for his political activities, including his role as campaign manager for Green Party candidate Cliff Thornton who ran against Rell in the Nov. 2006 election.
The federal lawsuit claims that prior to the inaugural parade a member of the Connecticut State Police informed Hartford Police that Krayeske “was among a group of political activists who posed a possible threat to the governor.” But the state dropped the charges in March when it discovered there wasn’t any probable cause with which to prosecute Krayeske.
Prior to his arrest, Krayeske had written about the inauguration in an ironic tone, informing readers that “[T]ickets to see the Fairy Godmother turn herself into Cinderella are only $150.”
“Mr. Krayeske expressed dissent about the governor’s priorities,” the lawsuit claims. It goes on to explain that: After Mr. Krayeske was arrested, defendant Andrew Weaver of the Hartford Police read him his Miranda rights and asked the plaintiff the following: “‘If we let you go now, will you be going to the inaugural ball tonight?’ Mr. Krayeske answered that he did not intend to go to the ball.”
“Thereafter, Defendants Weaver, Antuna and John Doe, whose identity is at this time unknown, conspired together to impose an unreasonable bond intended to prevent Mr. Krayeske from being released from custody while the governor’s inaugural ball was taking place. Bond was set in the amount of $75,000 and was not reduced to a promise to appear until after the inaugural ball had ended.”
The lawsuit filed late Thursday afternoon by Krayeske’s attorney Norman Pattis claims Sgt. Andrew Hawkens, “requested a high bond, leaving word with the Hartford Police Department that he was to be notified at the ‘Connecticut State Police at 550-1033’ if Mr. Krayeske were released from custody before 8 p.m.”
State Rep. Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, has said Krayeske was singled out “irresponsibly by state and local police because of his political views and prior political statements and activity.”
“The bad news is that state and local taxpayers will bear the cost of this violation of Ken Krayeske’s constitutional right,” Lawlor said in a March press release.
While that may sound like a ringing endorsement, it didn’t stop Capitol Police from harassing Krayeske at the state Capitol this week.
Krayeske went up to the Capitol Wednesday to speak with lawmakers and media colleagues when he was stopped by the Capitol Police who asked for his press credentials.
For anyone who doesn’t know journalism is not a licensed profession and there is no such thing as a press credential. Not to mention the Capitol is a public building.
The Capitol reporters who spoke to Krayeske were asked by Capitol Police shortly after the conversation, why he was there. According to one reporter, police wanted to know what they had spoken about.
Lawlor said Thursday that he would look into the matter.