Trumped-Up Terrorism Charges For Toy Rifle In West Virginia

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 11 months ago

Some things are so far beyond belief that you couldn’t make them up even if you tried.  From West Virginia:

MARTINSBURG – A man wearing a ballistic vest and military camouflage, armed with a training rifle, two knives and several unloaded magazines, was arrested Monday morning after he was seen running in the area of two Martinsburg schools.

William Everett Alemar, 23, of South Raleigh Street, Martinsburg, was charged with committing a terrorist act and wearing body armor while committing a felony offense following the incident, which occurred on the first day of school for Berkeley County students. As of Monday, he was being held at Eastern Regional Jail on a $50,000 cash-only bond.

Alemar, who police said was a member of the military, later told police he was out running and jogging with his gear on, police said. His current military status is under police investigation.

No need to continue with the investigation.  Mr. Alemar is currently in Virginia National Guard’s Company B, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Woodstock, Va., according to West Virginia National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. David Lester.  Continuing with the original report:

At about 7:17 a.m., the Martinsburg Police Department received several calls in regard to an individual running and carrying a rifle near the area of Bulldog Boulevard and Raleigh Street in Martinsburg, which is located near Martinsburg High School and South Middle School.

“One of our primary concerns was that he was sighted in the general proximity or area of the high school on Bulldog Boulevard and we also believe that’s what generated a lot of calls,” Lt. G.B. Swartwood said.

Officers responded to the scene and located Alemar near the intersection of Silver Lane and Raleigh Street. When Patrolman Michael Jones, Patrolman C.M. Richmond and Patrolman First Class Erik Herb encountered the individual, he was wearing full military desert camouflage and a ballistic vest. He also appeared to be armed with an assault rifle across his chest, which police subsequently determined was an AR-15 training rifle.

Now here’s the admirable part where the police demonstrate good muzzle and trigger discipline.

All three officers engaged Alemar at gunpoint and ordered him to his knees to be taken into custody.

“The subject was then ordered to lie prone on the ground and the officers secured his weapon, an AR-15(M-4) training rifle. The suspect also had two knives and several unloaded magazines, (and) his ballistic vest also contained ceramic panels to make it more bullet resistant,” a police news release said.

Swartwood said the training rifle Alemar was found with fires small pellet projectiles and not bullets, similar to an airsoft rifle. He said the rifle is used for training purposes, but looks exactly like a real AR-15.

“It’s heavy and it looks completely just like an AR-15 other than that red tip on it,” Swartwood said.

Alemar was handcuffed and brought to the Martinsburg Police Department. All of his accoutrements and camouflage were photographed upon his person and seized as potential evidence.

Uh huh.  Evidence.  Here is the picture.

Here is the result.

After consulting with the Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Alemar was charged with “committing a terroristic act under 61-6-24 subsection (b) and subsection (d) of the West Virginia State Code,” police said.

“With him being in that proximity, in that area of the school, we believed that he was causing a significant threat with his actions and his gestures by his own choosing,” Swartwood said.

He had an Airsoft gun.  It wasn’t a real weapon.  He had some empty magazines, and for some added weight he wore his body armor including his SAPI plates, like most Marines and Soldiers train.  Now he is facing terrorism charges.

I sometimes carry concealed and sometimes openly.  My home state is a traditional open carry state and has no stop and identify statute.  I am waiting on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police to stop and question me so that I can use it as an opportunity to educate them on the law.  Thus far I have only gotten them interested enough in me to wave and smile.  I guess they are well-trained, and I guess Berkeley County isn’t as civilized as Mecklenburg County.

But we wouldn’t want people to get away with thinking that all of that tactical gear is acceptable, especially those evil ARs (er, … toy guns).  After all, they look scary, have handles and stuff, shoot bullets that aren’t any good for anything except killing cops, fire bullets and grenades fully automatic machine gun style with ammunition that splits into a thousand pieces and homes in on its target with embedded television sensors, and have that shoulder thing that goes up.

I hope Alemar’s attorney bankrupts Berkeley county with a lawsuit.  I suppose if the police and prosecutors aren’t already humiliated by the circumstances, there isn’t much we can do about that.

UPDATE #1: A followup article outlines the steps that the prosecutor is taking against Alemar.  The idiot prosecutor is actually going to go through with this, making a joke of the very statutes under which real, honest-to-God terrorism would be prosecuted.  His attorney gives us the following update from the article.

“I mean he was jogging, so the last time I checked, there’s no jogging statute near schools, but I think everyone has to be cautious in this day and age. We understand the police response was appropriate, but the question is, was there a crime and, if so, is there an explanation for his state of mind? He doesn’t want to make any statements right now, but the family is helping us, along with him, to get the military records we need to make the proper assessment to confirm his military service and to confirm his deployment,” Mills said.

If convicted of the terrorism charge, Alemar faces one to three years in prison and a $500 to $25,000 fine. He faces two to 10 years in prison if convicted of wearing body armor while committing a felony offense.

He is too nice.  Let me state very explicitly that the response of the police was not appropriate.  Pointing their weapons at a man who was not in violation of any law is thuggish, and makes them appear to be uncivilized, country-boy hicks.  I sent a note to the police department ridiculing the lack of muzzle discipline of their officers, but am shocked that I still haven’t received a response.  Shocked.

As for the PTSD defense, this is ridiculous.  How about this as a defense: He didn’t break any laws.

UPDATE #2: Additional discussion at reddit/r/guns concerning charges of intoxication that the police department intends to trot out.  To me this is evidence that they have no case.

You are currently reading "Trumped-Up Terrorism Charges For Toy Rifle In West Virginia", entry #8945 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns,Second Amendment and was published August 21st, 2012 by Herschel Smith.

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