Archive for the 'Police' Category



What Does The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department Not Understand About The United States Versus Black?

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 5 days ago

Mass Transit:

During the 2016 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Bus & Paratransit Conference there was an open discussion hosted on concealed and open carry firearm laws. Firearm carry laws differ from state to state, but the biggest highlight was educating operators on those laws — to ensure that they properly address the situation.

Sgt. Charles Rappleyea, the police liaison for Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) said that Charlotte has a no carry law for all public transit. When they do get a call about someone with a weapon he said that they rarely have a problem.

“When we do, they’re often criminals,” said Rappleyea. “Everyone that we’ve encountered with a concealed permit, we haven’t had a problem.”

Whereas in Dallas, Texas, they have an open carry law. James Spiller, the chief of police and emergency management for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), explained for people with open carry licenses — their gun must be in a holster. With the law it was important to educate the public on the rules.

“In Texas, if they are open carry, as a police officer I can’t just walk up and ask them if they have a licence without probable cause,” explained Spiller.

Which raises the question, how do transit operators determine if the person boarding their bus or train with a firearm is legally authorized to do so?

“They have a button, if they’re uncomfortable they can press the button to show ‘hey someone has boarded with a gun’.”

Sorry folks, but feeling “uncomfortable” isn’t a good enough reason.  And contrary to the cited article, it’s not only the police in Texas that cannot just walk up to someone without probable cause.  All stops must be valid “Terry stops.”

As we’ve noted before, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a rebuke to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department in the case of United States Versus Black.

Nathaniel Black was part of a group of men in Charlotte, North Carolina who local police officers suspected might be engaged in criminal activity.  In particular, Officers suspected that after seeing one of the men openly carrying a firearm – which was legal in North Carolina – that there was most likely another firearm present.  When police began frisking the men one by one, Mr. Black wished to leave, but was told he was not free to leave.  Officers chased Mr. Black and discovered that he possessed a firearm; it was later discovered that he was a previously convicted felon.  Mr. Black was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Before the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Mr. Black moved to suppress the evidence against him.  His suppression motion was denied, he entered a guilty plea preserving a right to appeal the denial of the suppression motion, and he was sentenced to fifteen (15) years imprisonment.  The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, however, determined that the officers had improperly seized Mr. Black, suppressed the evidence against him, and vacated his sentence.

The upshot of this ruling means that the conduct of an action that is perfectly legal doesn’t and can never constitute reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed.  And yet apparently the Charlotte Mecklenburg police are still stopping people who are in the process of open carry and asking for concealed handgun permits, contrary to both established law (since N.C. is a traditional open carry state) and court decision.

Why is this happening?  What possible excuse can CMPD have for this behavior?  Moreover, I think Sgt. Charles Rappleyea isn’t being forthcoming.  I think he’s mistaken, or not telling the truth.  I think the CMPD has no data on how many stops they have made on mass transit for open carry (stops which are contrary to or not in accordance with the law) and how many of those stops involved concealed handgun permit holders (besides, one doesn’t need a CHP to legally openly carry in N.C.).  And I think he’s not being honest about the judgment that while CHP holders aren’t a problem, there are actual criminals who are openly carrying firearms in mass transit situations.  In fact, I doubt that the CMPD has had any documented stops of criminals openly carrying on board bus or rail.  Is the CMPD “fabulating” for the benefit of the conference?

If so, the CMPD can correct me here, but in the absence of such correction, I’ll stick to my guns – pardon the pun.

LEOs Turning On American Citizens: Where Do You Stand?

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

David Codrea:

I just ran across a post from two months back on the CDR Salamander blog, “The Sad Truth About Illegal Orders.” I can’t really claim to know much about the blog or this blogger, but I cite it here because he raises a question that seems particularly suited for Oath Keepers. He recounts  an exchange between presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and Bret Baier of Fox News, specifically on Trump’s endorsement of waterboarding, going “stronger” on terrorists, and targeting their families.

Baier referred to an open letter signed by “almost 100 foreign policy experts,” saying “the military will refuse because they’ve been trained to turn down and refuse illegal orders. So what would you do, as commander-in-chief, if the U.S. military refused to carry out those orders?”

“They won’t refuse,” Trump replied. “They’re not going to refuse me. Believe me.”

“Citizens of a free republic are applauding a man who is telling everyone two things that should disgust anyone who took an oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States,’” the blogger notes. “1. The CINC will issue illegal orders. 2. His military will gladly follow those illegal orders. 3. Citizens applaud 1 & 2.”

As for members of the military who might refuse?

“The more I’ve thought about it, the more I think my initial instinct is wrong,” CDR Salamander admits. “That might be an internal dialog, but once a senior officer looks you in the eye, and even if you make a protest says, ‘The JAG stated,’ or ‘The Justice Department ruled that,’ there are very few who will resist.”

That goes to the crux of what Oath Keepers is about, noting the oath is to the Constitution and the applicability of the Uniform Code of Military Justice as binding law prohibiting a Nuremberg-style “I was only following orders” defense. That’s the legal basis for “Orders we will not obey.”

And that, of course, is used by subversive “progressives” to label Oath Keepers “anti-government extremists” (and worse). That’s part of the Orwellian “War is peace; Freedom is slavery; Ignorance is strength” contradictions employed by the evil to influence and exploit the ignorant and advance the totalitarian agenda.

But here’s the thing …

Well, this is a heavy issue.  See also Son, Will You Fire On American Citizens?  My son won’t, and I know that for an absolute fact.  But he is no longer in the Marine Corps.  LEOs are something different altogether.  I’ll leave it to another time to explore the many facets of differences between the two, but for now suffice it to say that I’m not too worried about the military.

LEOs  – perhaps.  Let LEOs have children, get their medical care and family support dependent on the government, and my bet is that they will just about to a man say, “Well, if you don’t like the laws elect men who will change them.  In the mean time, I’ll enforce the laws on the books that the courts have found constitutional.”  They will defer to the black robed tyrants for their moral framework, and they’ll do it because of the pressure from their spouses to provide for the family.

That’s just what I think.  If you disagree, then name me a single time in history – anywhere, anytime – where law enforcement has refused to obey orders?

Open Carry In Philadelphia

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

NBC10.com:

If you see an armed jogger in Mount Airy, Pennsylvania, these days, it’s not a “run-by” in progress.

He’s trying to make a point.

James Moody, 49, who lives in the neighborhood and comes from a self-described “firearms family,” said he began jogging with a handgun at his hip a couple months ago.

He admits a jogger with a gun in plain view on Vernon Road may be a bit “eye-opening,” but Moody, a truck driver and city native who became Pennsylvania’s Golden Gloves superheavyweight boxing champion in 1988, said he’s doing it to raise awareness about gun rights.

One police officer walking the beat in the 14th District thought it jarring enough to stop Moody mid-run Monday — and the first 15 minutes of the encounter were caught on video shot by Moody’s Go-Pro.

In it, which Moody posted to YouTube Tuesday, the officer, who identifies himself as Officer Cave, crosses Vernon Road to ask Moody about the handgun. Cave approaches with a coffee in one hand and asks Moody if he has a license to carry. Moody refuses to answer the officer’s questions about a firearms license.

As other officers arrive, they too ask Moody about a license to carry or another form of identification. Cave, a sergeant and two other officers all in turn ask Moody as the group discusses the legality of carrying a firearm in public.

None of the officers nor Moody become angry, but at least one of the officers points to her phone and tells Moody he is not allowed to carry a firearm openly.

In Pennsylvania, Moody argued in the video and then in a subsequent phone interview Tuesday, gun owners with a license to carry firearms are free to “open carry” anywhere in the state — even Philadelphia.

“Clearly, the officers don’t know the laws that Philadelphia is governed by. They had no clue about what is lawful and unlawful,” said Moody. “You can, under Title 18 Section 6108, open carry a firearm.”

“We also don’t live in a stop-and-identify state. Do they stop everyone in a motor vehicle just because they’re driving? No, you need probable cause,” he added. “You have no reason to detain me and question me. It may be a little eye opening, but it is not unlawful.”

Moody’s video of the encounter ends after about 15 minutes because his Go-Pro battery died, but he said police continued to question him about the gun and why he wouldn’t show any identification. He said they handcuffed him briefly, searched him and found his license to carry inside his wallet. He was then let go.

An attorney who has wrangled with the city of Philadelphia for decades over citizens’ gun rights, Jon Mirowitz, said the law doesn’t prohibit Moody from openly carrying his gun.

But, Mirowitz said, everyone, whether you’re a cop or a civilian, should adhere to a simple rule: Act civil.

“In this sort of a confrontation, there is nobody that’s right or nobody that’s wrong,” Mirowitz said. “Being civil is the key. All the guy has to do is say, ‘Here’s my ID.’ All the cop has to do is say, ‘I’m not giving you a hard time. I just want to see some ID.'”

There’s video at the link.  So here’s a few takeaways from this.  First of all, the cops need to learn the law and obey it.  Because they want to do or see something isn’t a good enough excuse.  Kudos to Mr. Moody who knows the law, including whether they are a “stop and identify” state.

Second, I’m okay with simply trying to prove a point.  When I open carry, it’s usually because I cannot stand to conceal (e.g., it’s a hot day and I don’t want to sweat my weapon).  But in this case proving a point is the right thing to do.  The cops need to be called to account.

Third, the lawyer is a putz.  He’s basically saying, “It doesn’t matter what the law says, do what the cops want anyway and everything will be just fine.”  He is a horrible lawyer, and he is no lover of liberty.

SWAT Raid In Portage, Indiana

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

Chicago Tribune:

When a Portage couple heard a knock on their door a year ago, they were shocked to see 20 armed police officers standing outside, yelling an expletive at them to open their door.

Portage SWAT then searched their home as they were forced to watch before someone realized they were at the wrong address, according to a lawsuit filed by Jon Groski and Stacey McFadden against the city, the Portage Police Department and a number of officers.

Mayor Jim Snyder could not be reached for comment.

According to the lawsuit, filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, the couple and their 4-year-old daughter were at home in the 3300 block of Oakwood Street on the morning of April 13, 2015, when they heard loud banging on their door.

Groski looked through a window and saw 20 officers all wearing black with assault rifles on his doorstep, the lawsuit says, and one of them yelled at him “Open the (expletive) door, right (expletive) now.”

When he asked what was going on, another officer told him “It doesn’t (expletive) matter,” the lawsuit says.

It adds that when Groski did open the door, they rushed in with their weapons drawn at everyone in the house.

The lawsuit says that police never actually identified themselves as officers and never produced a warrant. After searching the house for some time, one officer made a comment about being at the wrong house, according to the suit.

The suit says that Groski and McFadden later learned police were trying to serve a warrant on someone who did not live at the house and that that person was not wanted for a violent crime.

It argues police used excessive force against the family and would not let them leave during the search. They are suing for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

This is the troupe of goobers responsible for this.

Portage_SWAT

They think it’s acceptable to force their way into another man’s home, property not their own, point guns at his family, and tell him it’s none of his business why they’re doing it.  To boot, this is yet another wrong-home raid, and making this even richer, the man they “wanted” wasn’t even wanted for a violent crime.

Hey folks, put the carbines down, get out of the monkey costumes, take the shades off (no, they don’t make you look cool), take some classes in scientific forensics (perhaps even including – gasp! – Calculus and physics), and be useful to your community.  As it is, you’re doing no one any good.  You’re collective drains on society, loads on the turbine.  You’re not earning your keep.

Do your investigative work, go door to door, knock on the doors, be friends of the community, ask questions, and so on, and for heaven’s sake, dress up in a formal uniform, shirt and tie and try to at least look like you’re a professional.  Defenestrate the tactical gear and jump suits and lose the bellies.  You look stupid.  But before you do any of that, read the constitution for what you can and can’t do, and don’t even think about deferring to a rubber stamp judge to prove that it’s okay for you to be abusive to citizens.  God won’t care what that judge said.

Canada’s Proposed Gun Law

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

The Rebel:

When it comes to legislation, terminology is everything. Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette introduced Bill S-223 on April 12. This bill proposes to change the categorization of “non-restricted firearm” to “hunting firearm” and “restricted firearm” to “circumscribed firearm.”

A “hunting firearm” will now be defined as:

a firearm — other than a prohibited firearm or a circumscribed firearm — that is prescribed to be a hunting firearm and that

(a) has a smoothbore barrel that is more than 470 mm long,

(b)  has a striated barrel that is more than 470 mm long and that can discharge 22-calibre rimfire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner, or

(c) is designed or adapted to be fired when reduced to a length of less than 660 mm by folding, telescoping or otherwise;

What this seems to imply, is that you will be able to hunt with ONLY shotguns, smoothbore black powder, and .22 rimfire rifles.

You will not be able hunt or possess any center fire rifles for hunting purposes.

All center fire rifles might then be re-categorized as a “circumscribed firearm.”

A “circumscribed firearm” will now be defined as:

(a) a handgun that is not a prohibited firearm,

(b) a firearm — other than a prohibited firearm — that has a barrel equal to or less than 470 mm,

(c) a firearm — other than a prohibited firearm — that is capable of discharging centre-fire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner, or

(d) a firearm that is designed or adapted to be fired when reduced to a length of less than 660 mm by folding, telescoping or otherwise;

This will effectively ban all semi-automatics, as there are also new storage provisions:

17  (1) Subject to subsection (2) and to sections 19 and 20, a prohibited firearm or circumscribed firearm, the holder of the inscription certificate for which is an individual, may be possessed only at a shooting club or a storage facility recorded in the Canadian Firearms Registry.

This means that all firearms, except for “hunting firearms” and 12(6) for a gun collection, will be stored at a central storage facility.

It looks like boy beautiful and his girly followers are feeling their oats.  Okay, so let me explain for my friends up North how this should work.

You don’t face down teams of police on your doorstep.  Ever.  When they arrive, your guns will be gone.  You warmly invite them into your house, and say, “Come on in, I’m honored to have heroes of the community in my humble house.  God bless you for your sacrifice.”

You take them to your gun safe, and there they find the sacrificial gun, that cheap $400 revolver you don’t want, and not much more (a few scattered cartridges, some papers, some scattered odds and ends).  They walk out of the house thinking, “Hey, I’m glad that went so easy and that it’s over with.”

But it’s not over with.  Know who your local police are.  Make sure to let them know in no uncertain terms, without them knowing who you are, that it is all just beginning.  Make your points in the shadows, not in the light of day.  Make it clear to them that you will not tolerate infringements on your God-given rights.

If you don’t know the cops who did it because they are cowards and wore masks, note that their police colleagues supported them and let them do it.  They are all culpable now.  Make your points to all your known community police.  In the shadows.

Make your points until the police no longer want to wage war on otherwise peaceable citizens.  Make your points in the shadows.

That’s how this should go down.  Do you understand?

Officer In D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Pointed Unloaded Gun At Head Of Another Officer And Dry Fired The Gun On Orders From His Sergeant

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

WUSA9:

WASHINGTON – An officer in the Metropolitan Police Department’s first district “dry-fired” an unloaded weapon at the head of another officer during a roll-call meeting on Saturday afternoon, possibly under orders from a sergeant as part of a training exercise, four MPD sources tell WUSA9.

Those sources say a Sergeant later told officers in the room that they had secretly ordered the officer to unload his weapon and then pretend to fire on his colleague as part of a “training exercise” on situational awareness. The officer then pulled the trigger of the unloaded weapon while pointing it at the head of an officer until it audibly clicked, the sources say.

Both the officer who allegedly fired the weapon and the sergeant who allegedly ordered him are assigned to regular duties, pending an internal affairs investigation, MPD spokesman Sean Hickman tells WUSA9.

“I can tell you there are about seven different versions of the incident that are out there,” MPD Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters on Monday. “I’m not sure which or how many of those that you’ve heard, but I prefer to wait until I see some facts and some direct statements of what happened before I make a judgment.”

Several MPD personnel who have heard of the incident, which has been widely discussed in police circles online and elsewhere since the weekend, say they are furious that such a training exercise might have been ordered.

Another officer could easily have drawn their weapon and killed the officer who dry-fired at their colleague. Some sources say at least one officer did pull his weapon on the officer during the confusing moments surrounding the incident.

“You shouldn’t be doing that kind of training. This is police academy 101. You do not pull your weapon out of your holster and display it, especially in a roomful of cops,” said Michael Tabman, a former Fairfax County police officer and FBI special agent.

Tabman ticked off multiple ways the scenario could have turned deadly, such as a round accidentally left chambered in the officer’s weapon, or another officer in the room opening fire to preemptively protect a colleague with a gun pointed at him.

“You just don’t put people in that fear and sort of invite tragedy, and that’s what this was—it was inviting tragedy. Thank goodness nothing happened,” Tabman said.

The rules of gun safety, one of which is observation of muzzle discipline, are based on a safety philosophy called “defense in depth.”  Hundreds of articles can be found monthly where officers routinely point their firearms at citizens, many of whom are guilty of nothing at all.  They have the mistaken notion that only their safety matters, and thus it’s acceptable to muzzle flag another person as long as that person is not another law enforcement officer.  The same holds true for the idea of putting your finger on the trigger of the firearm.  This is routinely done by law enforcement while pointing weapons at other people, one problem that has developed from this being negligent discharges when they are armed with handguns with a lighter trigger pull than previous service arms, or when armed with a handgun that doesn’t shoot DA/SA (like their previous service weapon) where the initial cycling of the trigger is harder and chambers the round as well as shoots it.  See also here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and many other instances.

The point isn’t to get into mechanical and tactical issues so much as it is to explain why police shoot their handguns when they shouldn’t.  They have been poorly trained, and their concern isn’t for citizens – it is only for themselves.  There is a problem with both training and intent.  But in this instance we see stupidity on display for all to witness.  Whoever ordered to this occur shouldn’t ever be allowed to own another weapon in his life, much less still be under the employ of a police department.

But the police are indignant in this case, their ox being the one that was gored.  We also saw this in the article entitled The second deputy pointed the weapon at the first deputy and – apparently unaware the weapon was loaded – pulled the trigger.

The second deputy pointed the weapon at the first deputy and – apparently unaware the weapon was loaded – pulled the trigger

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 1 week ago

Via Townhall, this sad tale:

A San Francisco sheriff’s deputy accidentally discharged a non-duty weapon, a “baby Glock,” inside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday morning, apparently while trying to demonstrate the proper use of the weapon to a colleague.

The round narrowly missed the fellow deputy, but no one was injured.

San Francisco Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Eileen Hirst said the discharge occurred before court started and was under investigation. She was not able to provide details, pending the outcome of the probe.

“An accidental discharge of a firearm is a very serious matter,” she said. “We are all very grateful that no one was injured.”

Sources say that Rhonda Gaines, a 20-plus year veteran, brought the gun to work and that Sotero Santos accidentally fired it. Hirst would not confirm either identities but said that the person who fired the weapon is receiving a one-on-one refresher on firearm training, as is the deputy who brought the weapon to the courthouse.

[…]

Sources told NBC Bay Area that Gaines brought the handgun, a 22-caliber “baby” Glock, to work and was apparently not familiar with how it operated. She handed it to Santos and asked him about its use, sources said. The second deputy pointed the weapon at the first deputy and – apparently unaware the weapon was loaded – pulled the trigger. The round missed her, piercing an equipment storage cabinet, before lodging in the office wall.

I don’t do Glocks, but even so, I know that unless it’s had the conversion kit applied to it, there is no .22 Glock.  The department may have been referring to a Glock 22, which is a .40.  Either way, it’s a good thing this happened among people so well trained in the science of firearms use and tactical applications (unlike us ignorant civilians).  Otherwise, someone might have been hurt and the other sent to prison.

Cop Unlawfully Points Weapon At Motorist In Houston

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 1 week ago

This video comes via KTRK.  Watch it all.

No he didn’t point a gun at the cop.  It’s as simple as that.  No he didn’t.  The video clearly shows that he pulled in, he got out of the truck and knocked his gun out of the floorboard of the vehicle (I’ve never done that with a gun but I have with my iPhone and wallet), reached down to pick it up, turned back towards the truck with it, placed it in the truck, and closed the door.  Then he was surprised by an off-duty cop who unholstered his firearm and didn’t observed muzzle or trigger discipline.  He pointed a deadly weapon at the man.  There was no excuse for this.  None.

The comments here are interesting.

“Overreaction on the part of the cop. Period. No harm, no foul,” and “Yep, shake hands and walk away.

So the cop should be able to do what I can’t without it being a felony, otherwise called assault with a deadly weapon, because you know, he’s a cop and all that.  And cops are different.

David French On Policing Tactics In Chicago

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 3 weeks ago

NRO:

In Chicago, two momentous things are happening at once. First, in the aftermath of the Laquan McDonald shooting — where a white officer shot a black teenager, who was armed with a small knife, 16 times, even as McDonald appeared to be walking away — Chicago police and prosecutors are facing a Department of Justice investigation and intense public scrutiny. Second, as the investigation and accompanying political controversy unfold, Chicago’s murder rate has surged by 84 percent, and shootings have almost doubled.

… Since January, [Chicago] officers have recorded 20,908 instances in which they stopped, patted down and questioned people for suspicious behavior, compared with 157,346 in the same period last year. Gun seizures are also down: 1,316 guns have been taken off the streets this year compared with 1,413 at this time last year.

Rogue police officers must be prosecuted, but we are increasingly demanding the impossible from law enforcement — that they maintain order in the streets in a manner that looks great on camera and breaks down neatly along demographic lines. But dealing with violent gangs, drunk, high, and out-of-control criminals, and screaming and vicious domestic disputes is often an ugly business. Moreover, crime rates aren’t evenly distributed demographically, so so stops, arrests, and police shootings won’t be either.

Listen to me, David.  I always go armed with a knife, and not a small one.  If a man is walking away, a cop has no right to shoot him, so says the Supreme Court in Tennessee versus Garner.  Cops can use their weapons for the very same reason I can use mine, i.e., self defense.  Nothing else justifies use of said gun, except if they are saving the life of someone else (and I can use that excuse as well if it’s true).  Cops can’t shoot people for walking away.  Don’t even toy with the idea of defense of a cop who shoots a man in the back for walking away from him.

And yes, someone is asking cops to do the impossible.  I’m not, but someone is.  They are asking cops to be at the receiving end of bad policy that has eviscerated the black family in the inner cities by handouts, making the father both unnecessary and meaningless.  What we are looking at in the inner cities is four generations of entitlement.  Cops can’t change that.  Cops cannot undo the affects of socialist programs that have impoverished and morally bankrupted the black population, and hard core policing tactics that violate the constitution aren’t the answer to bad policy.  At some point the chickens come home to roost.  In this case, many of the chickens are dangerous criminals, and the roost will be hellish, just as it will be with our open borders policy.

No one takes pleasure in this.  This isn’t schadenfreude.  This is called judgment.  Sometimes it can’t be stopped.

Buy guns and ammunition.  Be prepared.  Understand Herschel’s Dictum.  “There aren’t too many human interaction problems that can’t be fixed with a .45 ACP 230-grain fat-boy.”

Brandon Howard Victory Against Hopewell Police

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 1 week ago

Via reader Mack, this from The Rutherford Institute, and written up at Richmond-Times Dispatch.

A Hopewell man who filed a federal lawsuit against a Hopewell police officer who had him arrested and detained at a peaceful public protest while armed with a rifle and pistol has settled the case.

The lawsuit was resolved to the “mutual satisfaction” of both sides, the two parties said in separate statements. Specific terms of the settlement were not disclosed; the lawsuit was formally dismissed last week.

The nine-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Richmond in 2014 said Brandon Howard drew the attention of Hopewell police on Aug. 26, 2013, when he was seen displaying a 6-by-4-foot sign that read “Impeach Obama” on an Interstate 295 overpass.

He had an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle slung over his shoulder on a strap and a .380-caliber Bersa pistol holstered on his waist.

Howard had been protesting lawfully for about 30 minutes when a Hopewell police officer pulled up to the area on the overpass where Howard was standing and parked his vehicle. Three to five police cruisers arrived a short time later with their emergency lights flashing, the suit said.

Six to eight officers then got out of their cars with their guns drawn and commanded Howard to drop his sign and get on the ground with his hands spread above his head, the complaint said.

After Howard immediately complied, Sgt. John Hunter stated to Howard, “What do you think you are doing threatening people on my interstate?” Howard replied that he had not threatened anyone and was simply exercising his First Amendment and Second Amendment rights.

To that, Hunter said, “Not on my overpass you’re not,” according to the suit.

The complaint says Hunter then handcuffed Howard, with Hunter advising Howard that he was being detained but not arrested after Howard asked if he was under arrest. Howard was placed in a police cruiser and taken to the Hopewell police station without anyone informing him of his legal rights or providing him “with any basis or authorization for his arrest and detention,” the suit says.

Howard spent the following 90 minutes in an interrogation room, with handcuffs still binding his hands behind his back, but was never questioned during his detention, the suit says.

He was then told he was free to go, his weapons were returned, and he was driven back to the interstate overpass.

The complaint said the police violated Howard’s First Amendment right to free speech, Second Amendment right to bear arms, and Fourth Amendment right to be free from a groundless arrest when they confronted him with guns drawn and ordered him to the ground on the unfounded belief that Howard was violating the law by being in public with a rifle slung over his shoulder.

Howard’s suit sought “nominal compensatory and punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial.”

The settlement “resolved the lawsuit to the mutual satisfaction of the parties,” according to a news release emailed Friday by the Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties advocacy group in Charlottesville that represented Howard.

Hunter said in a statement Saturday: “The parties have resolved this matter to their mutual satisfaction. As a gun owner, avid hunter and former Marine, I, John Hunter, respect and honor citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Similarly, as a citizen and former candidate for public office, I respect the rights of citizens to express themselves and engage in political speech as protected by the First Amendment.

“It was not my intention to compromise Mr. Howard’s rights under the Constitution. As a police officer, my number one priority was the safety of the public.”

So let’s get several things cleared up.  First of all, when a LEO unholsters his weapon and points it at someone, the only person in danger is the person in the direction of the muzzle.  The LEO isn’t observing the muzzle and trigger discipline I am require to exhibit.

Second, the interstate and overpass does not belong to the LEO, no matter what kind of bravado has been taught to them in their classes.  Third, as to the comment by the LEO that “It was not my intention to compromise Mr. Howard’s rights under the Constitution,” that’s a lie.  It was entirely his intention to deprive Mr. Howard of his rights.

It’s sort of like the surprised teenager who exclaims “I didn’t mean to get pregnant!  It was an accident!”  Of course, it wasn’t an accident.  It wasn’t like she and the boy bumped into each other in an elevator and suddenly the girl was pregnant.  It is never an accident.  There is knowledge and intentionality behind the action.

Fourth and finally, it would have been better if a grown up LEO had appeared at the scene and ordered the other LEOs to holster their weapons, walked up and talked to the man, and told everyone they could all go back to what they were doing because the man had done nothing illegal.

But I guess that’s too much to ask.  I do hope they paid his legal fees.


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