He Was Arrested for Criticizing the Cops. A Federal Court Says He Can Sue.
The U.S. Supreme Court declared in 1987 that “the freedom of individuals verbally to oppose or challenge police action without thereby risking arrest” is one of the chief distinctions separating “a free nation from a police state.” Some officials apparently needed a reminder about that, and this month the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana provided it.
The court ruled that St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith, Chief Danny Culpeper, and Sgt. Keith Canizaro violated clearly established law when they arrested and attempted to publicly humiliate a man for criticizing one of the department’s investigations.
Jerry Rogers Jr. became apoplectic with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office in the years following Nanette Krentel’s 2017 murder, which had gone unsolved and remains so. He began speaking with her family via email. His messages didn’t sit well with the sheriff’s office, which then sought to have Rogers indicted for defamation. The district attorney informed them that this was not constitutional, but Sgt. Canizaro proceeded anyway, obtaining what was arguably an illegal search warrant by citing a crime—”14:00000″—that doesn’t exist and arresting Rogers for denouncing them.
The office then sent out a press release before he’d been booked. According to Canizaro’s testimony, it had never done this before. It also filed a complaint with Rogers’ workplace. According to Sheriff Smith, this had never been done either. The message sent to the community was clear: If you’re alleged to have murdered or raped someone, you will receive less public shaming from the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s D
Article from Reason.com