TheBlaze posted a story earlier this week about a police officer who drew his weapon and ordered to the ground a man who was walking down a Grand Rapids, Mich. street with a gun in clear view.
Open Carry Is Legal in Michigan – That’s Why the Confrontation in This Video Has Sparked a Federal Lawsuit drew quite a few comments. Here's what some readers of TheBlaze had to say about the incident:
This was a blatant setup. This guy knew the police would get called and what do you expect the officer to do? He responded to the scene and, like it or not, he wants to go home at the end of the day. How is the officer supposed to know this guy is not a lunatic or a felon? It was a setup. What is he supposed to do, pull up alongside and take the chance that the guy walking down the street isn’t nuts? He begins to tell this jerk what he was going to do and the guy feels the need to recite his constitutional rights. I am a 2nd amendment advocate and, frankly, it is people like this guy who give the rest of us a bad name. Any reasonable person would expect the police, when called, to investigate. Further, any reasonable person would expect the police to gain control of the situation, investigate, and act accordingly. That is what this officer did. I am ashamed to be lumped in with this person. This guy gives gun control advocates ammunition. What a short-sighted stunt.
In the report it says, “a police officer in Grand Rapids responded to a March 3 call.” That means someone CALLED police and made a report. I’ll bet that someone had no clue about Michigan’s laws; they were probably an uneducated Liberal.
When someone calls police, they have to respond. It’s the law. I’ll bet the caller also made it clear they thought the person might be mentally ill, since the guy had been talking to himself out loud. Lots of mentally ill people talk to themselves out loud.
I’m not saying the cops were in the right when they handcuffed the guy. All they would have to have done is talk to him, ask him what he was doing. Maybe ask to see his ID, maybe even run his ID number through their computer system to see if he had a record, or any history of mental illness.
Of course, all that was likely done when he purchased his weapon anyway.
Yes it is legal but I can’t stand these idiots who do this for the express purpose of getting the cops on video “violating my Constitutional rights."
They are not helping anyone or any cause.
They are portraying legal, sensible gun owners in a very bad light.
Cops are not lawyers. Don’t argue the law with them.
Let's see how YOU react in this situation…you are sent to a call of an armed suspicious person. You drive past him the first time and see him seemingly talking to himself (it's on the video). That tells you one of two things… you either can’t see his Bluetooth device, OR he may be mentally ill.
Given the possibility that you may have an armed mentally ill person walking down the street, you as a police officer have no choice but to find out what's going on. The only safe way to investigate that is to put him on the ground.
I’m not sure how many mentally ill people with guns you have encountered, but I can assure you that you don’t need to be shot at more than once to know you never want it to happen again.
A mentally ill person with a gun drew first and shot first, killing a fellow officer last year.
So, yeah he put him on the ground…deal with it
This guy has zero business being a cop. You don’t pull your gun on ANYONE without reasonable suspicion he has pulled off a crime. Walking with a gun is NOT a crime there. Taking to yourself is NOT a crime. The COP is guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for pointing a loaded gun at a person without just cause.
Sue this idiot and his department for hiring this fool.
Really difficult situation. I am all for law-abiding citizens having the right to carry, whether open or concealed. The big challenge is that right to carry is mixed in to a society where the mentally ill are roaming pretty free due to both deinstitutionalization and the all-too-easily prescribed mind-altering drugs.
Cops are afraid of being shot – If I were a cop, that’s what I would be afraid of. Sorry to say, but if I were a cop and were responding to a call where the dispatcher said the guy was talking to himself and acting suspicious, my first thought prior to talking to him would be to disarm him as well. It’s easy to play Monday morning QB when you’re not the cop who has to confront the guy.
As a society, if we want to continue with the right to keep and bear (which we do), we must do something to address the mentally ill.
*** There will be those who write: “Why did he have to open-carry? He was asking for trouble!”
Such a claim could be rephrased accurately as:
“Why did he refuse an unwarranted home search? He was asking for trouble!”
“Why did he have to wear a cross? He was asking for trouble!”
“Why did he defend his opinion? He was asking for trouble!”
A right not exercised is soon lost; I have no respect for anyone claiming to be a defender of the 2nd Amendment yet is too timid to open-carry.
The Amendment states: “…shall not be infringed…”; no exceptions were listed or implied.
Was the lawful gun owner talking on his phone with a headset / Bluetooth set-up and it LOOKED like he was talking to himself? Why doesn’t the cop know the laws of the State of Michigan? This American citizen could have been shot by the police in some areas of America. The citizen would be right BUT dead. It is past time to re-educate the police and the police chiefs.
Set-up or not, the guy is in the right. Unless there is a specific, suspicious activity that the guy is suspected of, he cannot be detained, let alone cuffed and frisked.
Now, as a former police officer, the police officer was obviously concerned with his safety and the safety of others. But he still acted beyond the scope of his authority.
I live in Virginia, have a carry permit and own guns. That being said; here is the problem as I see it. Let’s suppose for a moment that this wasn’t a guy trying to “set up” a cop for confrontation, and really was a nut case who just wanted to kill a few churchgoers. What would your reaction be then? That all churchgoers should have been carrying heat in church? We know that doesn’t happen. I’m not all that much a fan of immature “legal scholars” walking around packing heat and deliberately trying to provoke police into a confrontation so they can spout off their knowledge of the state law and constitutional law, then sue the state. I can carry in Virginia, but I don’t invite confrontation by walking into the grocery store with a gun on my hip in hopes that some robber will show up and I get to be the hero. I was born and raised with guns, but my father also taught me that common sense comes along with gun ownership. I know I’ll be blasted by all TheBlaze gun-toters and I already am very familiar with, what must be, TheBlaze's view of police in this country. So don’t waste your keystrokes. However, I would still like to believe that the vast majority of police officers out here (and two are my good friends) are dedicated, work hard and don’t want nor ask for violent confrontation.
I totally support gun rights. I conceal carry every day. The police officer had no choice but to investigate after a citizen called and voiced a concern. You can’t blame the police. That is why concealed carry is much smarter than open carry. When properly concealed, nobody knows that you have it, and you can still legally defend yourself against anyone trying to harm you. Pick your battles wisely; this type of encounter does nothing to help us in protecting our gun rights.
Unfortunately, after spending the last ten years in law enforcement, I can tell you that this is becoming the norm and I know for a fact that cops and law enforcement officers in general coming out of these academies are being told that there is an “us and them” between civilians and law enforcement. They are instilled with a take-no-prisoners attitude. Before I got into law enforcement I was stopped by two state troopers and they saw I had a pistol permit and they searched me and berated the hell out of me because I was carrying a pistol, legally which I had a CCW permit for. I kept getting the old “why are you carrying a gun?” and I responded with “because I can, especially since it was midnight and I was traveling a long ways into a city." But more and more cops think that they are above the people, and I see it among my younger co-workers every single day, and its mainly in the way they are being taught in the academies, which have taken out common sense in favor of the militarization, because it is so much easier to make the populace comply by force than to have to talk to them. One of the last things I heard from the newer guys was that their academy told them over and over again, “You are the officer, they are the civilian.” It’s that attitude right there where we are losing our police departments and why people don’t trust them anymore.
I am torn on this one – but first, let’s clear something up for those who seem confused by why he is wearing his gun in plain sight: He is exercising his “open carry” rights because he CANNOT LEGALLY carry concealed without a permit – which he explains, he is in the process of getting, so that he can keep his gun under wraps. Second, I see people everywhere talking to themselves these days – or so it seems – that is, until you get right up on them and realize they have a tiny plug/Bluetooth in their ears and are having cell-phone conversations. Third, it’s noted in the video that they guy is in the area of an elementary school – and this is where I am torn. It’s clear he is exercising his Constitutional right to open carry a firearm, but the police say they were called (and there would be a record of that) by a concerned citizen. On one hand, the guy is well within his rights and is exercising them and shouldn’t have to be harassed by the cops. On the other hand, if he had gone into the school and killed a bunch of kids, not only would the PD be sued to no end, but there would be yet another preventable & tragic loss of life because signs were “ignored.” I guess I’m leaning toward the opinion that if you open carry, you should reasonably expect that you might be questioned, and however inconvenient, it’s understandable that you might have to explain that you are one of the “good guys.”
As a retired law enforcement officer – who supports concealed carry – a few thoughts come to mind: 1) Maybe this guy was intentionally acting odd, for the sole purpose of provoking an encounter with the police; 2) The officer would have a hard time convincing me that he had any reasonable fear, simply due to the manner in which he approached the subject; he never requested/waited for a back-up unit; he approached the subject in a high-risk area (while the subject was standing at an intersection, with nearby traffic), without any apparent need to do so at the immediate time/location; the officer could have parked his squad car in a more tactically secure manner and directed the subject to come to him – instead of exposing himself and walking to the subject; 3) The first thing the officer should have said was: ‘Sir, please keep your hands away from your firearm and where I can see them." There was no immediate reason to order the subject to the ground…other than poor training and unprofessional conduct.
All-in-all, I’m willing to bet the city settles the case out of court.
A police officer who approaches an armed person MUST use caution if for no other reason than self-preservation. Once he is assured of no obvious illegal activity, then it is reasonable to allow the person to move on, unrestrained. In all cases a citizen deserves proper courtesy until there is reason not to be courteous.
There are some (thankfully few) police officers who need to be reminded on occasion that they are not Gestapo ("papers, show me your papers") and that there are real limits to police powers.
By the way, I was a police officer (& investigator) in a large VA city years ago.