open carry in a theatre got dude hassled, court says he was OK, hassle bad.

Discussion in 'Concealed Carrying & Personal Protection' started by orangello, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/crime/...packing_theater_patron_wins_suit_200909382015

    Pistol-packing theater patron wins suit
    Updated: Thursday, 01 Oct 2009, 8:33 AM MDT
    Published : Wednesday, 30 Sep 2009, 8:16 PM MDT

    Reporter: Jeff Todd
    Web Producer: Bill Diven
    ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (KRQE/KBIM) - Matthew St. John prefers to be prepared should violent crime come his way, but his habit of wearing a visible sidearm caused a problem for Alamogordo police although not for a federal judge.

    Last year St. John went to a movie at an Alamogordo theater and later went outside to meet a friend and buy a ticket for a second movie.

    He believes that is when theater management saw him openly carrying a pistol, which is allowed under New Mexico law without a permit.

    During previews for the second movie between five and seven police officers arrived and took St. John out of the theater. St. John considered his removal from the theater to have been illegal and said he was searched and questioned by police for nearly an hour.

    "They kept asking why I had a gun in the theater over and over and over," St. John told News 13 on Wednesday. "I answered them the first couple of times, and then I stopped answering the question in general."

    He says he cited his right to bear arms under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    Police eventually let him go and did not arrest or charge him. Still St. John decided to take legal action, not under the Second Amendment but as a Fourth Amendment search-and-seizure issue.

    "The question presented was, based on him legally carrying that firearm, were the police officers justified in seizing and searching him," Miguel Garcia, St. John's attorney, said. "And the answer to that is no."

    St. John sued seven Alamogordo police officers in U.S. District Court. The judge ruled this month that the officers had violated St. John's civil rights and awarded him $21,000.

    The Alamogordo Department of Public Safety said it’s learned from this case.

    “We meet with the officers and then conduct additional training so that we can prevent these situations from occurring," DPS Director Sam Trujillo said.

    The DPS said some training has already taken place, and after the city’s legal department reviews the case, there will be more training.


    It's dark, dude was sober; i wouldn't be bothered at all by his carrying. I like the 4th amendment angle.
     
  2. Bigguns911

    Bigguns911 New Member

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    Ok I am biased on this one but $21K for 1 hour of his time. I think that is a bit much, I look at it from the cops point of view and say they did what they need to do. The manager and the public have 1-no idea it is legal to open carry, 2-the duty to keep other customers safe and secure, and 3-the right to refuse him into their theater.

    I believe in the lawful carry of firearms and that it has and could stop a lot of bad things from going down. The problem I have with this situation is the suing of the cops for doing their jobs. Yes some of you out there will say, the law says he can carry in the open so the cops had no right. Look at it in this way, we first off do not know what the manger told the dispatch, then we do not know what dispatch told the cops, then the cops had to find out what was going down. I thing they did the correct thing with pulling him out and talking with him. The search thing let me ask you, if you are the cops and you get this call do you want to let the possible suspect (yes he was a suspect until they found out more) have a gun. They probably took the gun off his hip but they do not know if he had more. Where there is one gun there are more guns.

    I will say 1 hour is a bit long, and all the Q's over and over about the gun is a but much but not 21K worth. I can see an apology or something, but that much money is crazy. I think the over all public safety and good was at question on this one and the cops did what they believed was right. Sorry he missed his move but he should be a happy the cops did their jobs. As a gun owner and a person that Carry's I believe that if someone calls the cops because they see my gun I should do what the cops want me to. Would it be irritating yes, but I would also look at it this way, if I was not a good person and carrying a gun I would want me off the streets. Just my point of view.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009

  3. Gojubrian

    Gojubrian New Member

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    Good for him, he should have gotten more.

    It's not about monetary gain for his time, it's about his rights being violated. Now maybe it won't happen so frequently as this will set a presedence. :cool:
     
  4. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    Not to be overly argumentative, but what law was he suspected of breaking at the time, disturbing the peace? If anybody was disturbed, it was probably by the half dozen officers filing in to remove duder from the theatre.

    If you were a bad person, would you open carry in a theatre? I've known a number of what most people would consider "bad people"; some of them carried a pistol. I can't think of any who ever open carried in public. That would seem like a way to gather attention and not in a productive way. edit* Upon further thought, i do remember one confirmed "bad person" who was known for showing people his pistol (hi point, stolen); he is now in the state penitentiary at Parchmen, MS for letting somebody else use that same pistol to pull a home invasion. Dumb kid actually admitted that the stolen gun was his (not legally, he bought it hot i hear), 12 years IIRC. I hope he is kicking himself in the butt right now.

    If the theatre had a sign prohibiting firearms or weapons, i would have nooooo problem with this, but i didn't see that in the article. This was also the second time that day that he had been granted admission; couldn't they have declined to sell him the second ticket and avoided such a scene?

    Everybody has a point of view, please don't be offended that ours differ here. :)

    I do think $21K is a bit much; had it been me, i'd have wanted a letter of apology and assurances that retraining would take place to avoid a similar issue in the future. Hopefully he will donate some of it to the NRA or a similar group.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
  5. Duke575

    Duke575 New Member

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  6. Bigguns911

    Bigguns911 New Member

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    Look all, as I said before I am in favor of carrying a gun. It is our right if we legally can carry one. The problem I have is why carry in the open, could he not get a CCW, was he just pushing his thoughts and such on other, is he a bully looking to make a point. I can’t see why I or any other Responsible gun owner would want ever one and their dog to see my gun. Like today, I am going to town with my two kids, mother and wife. I want my gun with me so I picked out the clothing I would have on to cover it up. It is not that hard to carry your gun, keep other safe and not make a big issue of it.

    I can see open carry in the woods, camp area, hiking but no in the center of a city or town. That is just asking for trouble.

    I understand others look at these things in a differing light, that is OK, but understand, as it is our gun rights are under attach each day. If we make more people concerned or frightened of guns and their owners how do you thing they will vote when asked about gun law. We need to be smart with our guns. Keep safe all.
     
  7. Duke575

    Duke575 New Member

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    Just an FYI, his lawyer received most of that settlement. I think he got only 6K. I know the guy personally. All he wanted was an apology from the DPS and they refused. So he took them to court.
     
  8. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    I may have misunderstood the article. Did he have a permit to carry concealed at the time of the incident? I was thinking he did not but was carrying openly under a different law that allowed one to open carry without a permit.

    If he did have a concealed carry permit, then i would agree that it would've been smarter to carry concealed. (no offense to duder)

    I don't blame him for asking for an apology, at all.
     
  9. GREASEMONKEY

    GREASEMONKEY New Member

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    This guy had to know that he was gonna receive a hastle sooner or later. Not that he is wrong, but you have to be expecting it, ya know!

    The general police population have no clue about weapons laws in general, and just do whatever they please at the moment, untill a superior corrects the situation. Most of the time.

    I have had a situation that officers tried to disarm me, and it did get pretty hairy for a minute, but eventually was smoothed over by the police cheif. I personally was on my private propety, and was the one who called the police for help. They show up and me with a holstered firearm, and immediately forget about the trespassing idiot I call them about, and focused on me!

    I think this guy got some earned fame&money!
     
  10. Gojubrian

    Gojubrian New Member

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    If I called the police I wouldn't be toting a firearm when they get there. It is legal, but it also puts them on edge even more.
     
  11. WDB

    WDB New Member

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    The other side of the coin.

    If the guy went on a rampage with the firearm and the theater manager hadn't called the PD imagine the news report. I fully understand the right to open carry but with doing so comes this kind of an issue. While I am pro 2A and conseal carry all the time, I wouldn't be comfrontable if I was settling in to watch a movie with my family and saw a guy with a gun open carry. I would be watching him the whole time and not the movie. Just because the guy is carring in the open wouldn't put me at ease with the expectation he is a good guy expressing his 2A. He could just as well a nut job with something to prove.

    Get a consealed carry license/premit and let all enjoy the movie with out concern. If you feel the need to open carry expect this kind of attention. And to sue seems weak, if it wasn't about the money as his friend suggested I would expect to read a follow up where he donated the money to a charity. I won't be looking for the follow up article because it was about the money.

    Asking the police department to appoligize for what? They did there job and getting him on his way in an hour seems pretty rerasonable. An hour in his life is worth 22k, and expressing he ONLY got 6k and the lawyer got the rest is a great expression of the bottom feeding Lawyers making a case out of nothing. I expect the city or county determined that it would cost double the settlement amount to defend the city/county position and just paid. That is where the bottom feeding Lawyers make there money and some slack jaw gets a payday he doesn't deserve and didn't earn.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  12. GREASEMONKEY

    GREASEMONKEY New Member

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    I realy had no choice, but the keep this guy a gunpoint untill the PD arrived. I holstered my weapon after they rolled out of the vehicles, but that was not good enugh for them.

    I had a long talk with the cheif, and they are all aware of the laws, + the fact that I carry.

    I grew up in a PD enviroment, and some times take that for granted. I would have become an officer, but the pay is way to low. I gotta live, and keep my kids fed. I work for a PD, but not an officer. The local PD knows that now, and it has changed their outlook on me carrying a weapon.
     
  13. Bigguns911

    Bigguns911 New Member

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    +1 WDB.


    Grease, As for the Cop's asking you for your gun or what ever they did, (your did not tell use that). I can see their side very clear. I roll up to a call and have one person on the ground and a second holding a gun. What one is the bad gay? Is the person with the gun legally possession the gun? Is he a crazy that I now have to worry about shooting me or the possible suspect because of something the suspect does or says? If you like it or not most Cop's are in favor of the carry laws, but that does not mean we want a civilian standing behind us with a gun. We have our own guns and most of the time do not need yours also involved. That just makes more guns we have to worry about the bad gay getting a hold of.

    If you legally possess the gun, hand it over to the Cop's, once they are done with there stuff you will get it back (barring you did not break any laws with it). What do you have to worry about with handing your gun over if you legally posses it.

    Sorry man but no matter how hard you tell me you have the right to have the gun, you are either handing it over to me, going back in your house or putting the gun some place and staying away from it. My life is way more valuable then you having your gun on you.
     
  14. GREASEMONKEY

    GREASEMONKEY New Member

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    NO don't get me wrong. I understand completely, and it all has to do with how that is handled, and the attitude an officer takes. It's situational, and on the officer, and myself.
    If I had been waving a gun around, or in some way being unsafe, being beelidgerant, and the officer not know me. This little town is 2sq miles, and there are 9 officers including the cheif. I have lived here 27yrs, and bend over backward to help the police in my little corner of the universe.
    That said....
    The officer shows up, gets out, and starts barking at me about holding someone at gunpoint. Tells me to give hime my Fing gun, and that I am going to jail. His words were to the tune of (He didn't Fing care who was right or wrong.) My reply could have been better, but it is what it is. I was ticked off by the tone & attitude by that time. I replied to him that he was more than welcome to take the tresspassin fella, and remove himself from my property. I told him that I would only hand my weapon over to the cheif, and that acting irate that I wasn't so sure he needed his weapon either. It was a huge mess, but I felt that I had been wronged by the officer, especially seeing as how he knows that I'm the owner, and called in the attempted break in. I was actually starting to feel threatened by this officer. The cheif was called in by the second officer, who seemed to be very suprised by the actions of the first officer. The cheif is a friend of mine,along with most of the officers. I still can't figure out why he blew up like he did.

    I don't know how you would handle the situation, but I'm different. Having a second officer to cover me is in my favor. I'm gonna keep as safe as possible, and ask what's going on, and inform the armed person that I would need to see the gun to run the numbers. That he could just use 2fingers to unholster, and place it on my hood. I would be more than happy to tell him I just want to be safe, and be sure were all safe. Then let the last thing I do to be run the #s.
    I would have had no problem with that.

    It's just me! I'm a magnet for crap.

    I have had several bad encounters with leo's. Whats sad is im a big supporter of leo's,and the job they do. I know its tough!

    BTW: I take it you are LEO?
    Just in case you have not been told lately. Thank you for your service.
    You are like soilders trying to fight a war on a budget. Under paid, under funded, and far under equipped!
     
  15. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

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    Sorry pardner but you need to follow the law just like I do.

    While I respect the tough job LEOs have - your life is NOT more valuable than my life...
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  16. Bigguns911

    Bigguns911 New Member

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    Grease, thank you and I am sorry for the bad encounter. I all lines of work there are good and bad. Not to say this LEO is always bad but if what you say went down did, then he took a bad stand. Thanks for your support.

    NGIB, you did not read my post correctly. As you see below I did not say my life if worth more then yours. I said my life is worth more then you having your gun. If you look at Grease's last post he says there was two LEO's on scene. They did not need his or your gun there for help. Along with the 2ND admin rights come responsibly. Yes you have the right to have your gun but my 34 LEO's killed this year by people with guns tells me I do not want a person that I do not know or I have not trained with having a gun next to me or behind me. Sorry man but my wife and kids want me to come home. If you have the gun lawfully then make the situation calmer by going inside or handing the gun over. Check out The Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc. for LEO's killed in the line of duty. That will tell you why I look at it this way.

    Like I said before, I support your gun rights and like having responsible citizens out there with guns. I just don't know what one are responsible and what one would kill me. If your find a way for me to tell that 100% or the time let me know.

     
  17. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

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    Sorry but I don't buy what you're selling at all. The law is the law - for all of us. Are you really suggesting that the law applies to me but not to you because of your job? This incident recently happened to a fellow I know in Cobb Co, Georgia. He's in his mid-50s and diabetic and carries for personal protection. The response he got to this letter to the department chief was - NOTHING.

    There is currently a lawsuit in the works and I suspect the Cobb County government will have to waste more of it's tax dollars to pay this fellow for the totally inappropriate behavior of these officers. I'm not anti-LEO in any sense; however, I wonder how many law abiding citizens have been killed for going unarmed due to the fear of being "criminalized" by over zealous LEOs...

     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  18. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    ^^^ That is damn pathetic right there.
     
  19. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

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    Also, I have a question for all the LEOs. In a state like Wisconsin, where ONLY open carry is legal, do you actually advocate that the citizens remain unarmed? Do you really expect them to sacrifice the ability to defend themselves to make you feel safe?

    Sorry, but unless any of you are willing to be with me and my family 24 hours a day, seven days a week - my only viable option is to exercise my constitutional right to protect myself.

    Again, all I ask is for LEOs to follow the same laws I'm expected to follow - no more and no less...
     
  20. Bigguns911

    Bigguns911 New Member

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    NGIB, I do not expect anyone to not be safe. I my state WA, a person can carry in the open or concealed with a permit. In Wisconsin if you can only carry in the open then that is how it is. In my state I do not think open carry is a good idea in a city environment. I the country is another thing.

    As for following the same laws, I am expected to enforce these laws and know them. In fact I have had my a$$ handed to me for not knowing the laws in the past. I do my best to know the laws and enforce them correctly. But one can not know every law for every situation. Some times you do not get all the info you need before arriving on scene. I have had this more then one time and thankfully it all worked out well. Most dispatchers do not know what to ask or they have so many calls coming in they do not have time. The LEO's have to get the info in the field. Some times the caller is not around to get that info from.

    I am sorry your friend had this experience. There are several issued at play with it. 1ST is the info given to the dispatch then given to the LEO's on scene. 2ND how they talked to your friend was not good. Respect goes a long way. Granted depending on how the call was given they might not have looked at it as a calm situation. If your friend stayed calm then they needed to stay calm. 3RD handcuffing him was most likely not needed. I would have asked him where his gun was and then asked he either to hand it to me or stay away from it. I would have then asked he slowly get his CPL so I can verify the info. Now if you friend went off on me I would have cuffed him up, if he can not talk with me with out yelling then I can not trust he will not do something to me or others. 4TH I do not like it when a citizen sends in a complaint like this and the PD or SO do not get back to him. The only thing I can think of is they did not want to open themself up for the lawsuit or they are just plain unfriendly to the public.

    With all that said I can see both sides of this situation. It all comes down to what info the LEO's got, how they all responded to the contact and just an all around respect issue. I do think asking him to load his gun after they walked away was a good idea.

    I have had several contacts with persons with guns. They have all been good ones and no one had to get out of control. I am respectful and do my best to not restrict their rights. I have not have anyone tell me they would not give me their gun when I ask. I suspect if that does happen I will keep calm, do my best to help them understand and keep things safe.

    I think we both have good points on this one. I do not think we will see eye to eye on all of it. I think a big thing missing in most of these contacts is respect and understanding. Both have a lot of info missing but it sounds like the LEO's got a little to intense right off the bat.

    The best I can do is keep my self and any LEO's I train respectful until the person I am contacting makes it so I can not. Some people you just can't talk to. Action is all they understand, but that is the last thing I want with any contact.

    Thank you to keeping an open mind and having a clean back and forth with me on this. Bigguns911.