Tennessee law enforcement arrested a man last week for posting a photoshopped picture of two men urinating on a dead police officer’s grave.
The Dickson County Sheriff’s Office, following an investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), arrested and charged Joshua Garton with harassment after Garton posted a picture to Facebook that appeared to show two men desecrating the tombstone of Sgt. Daniel Baker, who was shot and killed on duty in 2018. Garton was held on a $76,000 bond.
“Agents subsequently visited Baker’s gravesite this morning and determined the photograph was digitally manufactured,” a TBI press release says. The agency launched the investigation at the request of 23rd District Attorney General Ray Crouch.
While the picture was in poor taste, constitutional experts say law enforcement violated Garton’s First Amendment rights by arresting him for the image.
“The First Amendment clearly and unmistakably protects this man’s right to post an offensive photo about a police officer,” says Daniel Horwitz, a Nashville civil rights attorney. “The only people who broke the law here were the police officers and TBI agents who participated in this flagrantly unconstitutional arrest.”