Philadelphia Police won't obey the law

Discussion in 'Legal and Activism' started by bkt, May 25, 2011.

  1. bkt

    bkt New Member

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    Open carry is legal in Philadelphia. Cops openly say they WILL detain people doing so. One guy is being made an example of.

    All cops aren't idiots. Not all cops don't know the local laws they're charged with enforcing. But it's crap like this that feeds into the cycle of distrust and creates friction. The cops were clearly wrong, so naturally they're going after a guy who did nothing wrong.

    After Altercation, Philadelphia Police Say They Won't Look the Other Way on Open-Carry Gun Owners
    By Stephen Clark
    Published May 21, 2011 | FoxNews.com

    With a shocking altercation between Philadelphia police and a 25-year-old IT worker putting the spotlight back on open-carry gun laws, local authorities are warning gun owners that they will be "inconvenienced" if they carry unconcealed handguns in the city.

    Lt. Raymond Evers, a spokesman for the city police, told FoxNews.com that gun owners who open carry, which is legal in the city, may be asked to lay on the ground until officers feel safe while they check permits.

    "Philadelphia, in certain areas, is very dangerous," he said. "There's a lot of gun violence." Several officers have been killed in the line of duty in the past three years, local authorities say.

    The warning comes after Mark Fiorino, a suburban Philadelphia IT worker, posted an audiotape to YouTube of his tense, 45-minute encounter with police in February over his exposed handgun. The video went viral and captured national attention.

    After Fiorino released the audiotape, he was charged with disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment. He now faces up to two years in prison.

    "The police department and assistant district attorney are coming after me, in my opinion, to make an example of me because I stood up to them and exposed them for their lack of knowledge," Fiorino said, who called the trial "absolutely inappropriate and a waste of taxpayer money."

    Fiorino said he did nothing reckless, nor did he endanger anyone's life.

    "I had a gun pointed at my chest," he said.


    Only seven states ban the practice of openly carrying guns, and Pennsylvania isn't one of them, according to OpenCarry.org, which advocates gun rights. In Philadelphia, a permit is required to carry handguns openly. But on Feb. 13 a police sergeant who was unaware of the law[cops unaware of the law is more common than you might think. -bkt] -- which dates back to at least 1996 when the state Supreme Court referenced it in an unrelated ruling -- stopped Fiorino, who was walking to an auto parts shop in Northeast Philadelphia with a gun on his hip.

    Sgt. Michael Dougherty can be heard yelling out to Fiorino as "Junior," and asking him to show his hands as Fiorino protests having a gun pointed at his chest, prompting Dougherty to call for backup.

    Dougherty grows increasingly agitated as Fiorino offers to show his permit when he is ordered to get on his knees, causing Dougherty to threaten to shoot if he makes a move. Dougherty then unleashed a string of profanities as the two argued over the legality of open carry.[ahhh, professionalism from Philly's Finest -bkt]

    "Do you know you can't openly carry here in Philadelphia?" Dougherty yells.

    "Yes, you can, if you have a license to carry firearms," Fiorino responds."It's Directive 137. It's your own internal directive."

    When several other officers arrive, Fiorino is forced to the ground as he tries to explain that he's not breaking the law.

    "Shut the f---- up!" Dougherty yells.

    Police found the recorder while searching Fiorino's pockets. Officers eventually released him after speaking to the department's lawyer and being told that he was within his legal rights.

    Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey took issue with Dougherty's language and his lack of knowledge about the law during the altercation, Evers said, but not with the stop itself.

    Evers, who has been an officer for nearly 20 years, said "very rarely do people open carry in Philadelphia." But he added he wasn't making excuses.

    "We weren't as up on that crime code as we should have been," he said, adding that officers are being re-educated on open carry in response to the incident.

    Dougherty is facing disciplinary action pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation, Evers said.

    Fiorino's trial is scheduled to begin in July and the district attorney's office emphasizes that Fiorino's response to the police, not his gun rights, are at issue.

    "This office respects and upholds the rights of a citizen to lawfully carry a firearm," Tasha Jamerson, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said in a statement emailed to FoxNews.com. "The permit to carry a concealed weapon, however, does not mean that a permitholder can abuse that right by refusing to cooperate with police."

    Jamerson said Fiorino "allegedly became belligerent and hostile" when police officers "were legally attempting to investigate a potential crime."

    But Fiorino's attorney, Joseph Valvo, said the case is larger than Fiorino.

    "It's my position that this entire prosecution is an effort by Philadelphia authorities to send a message to legitimate gun owners that open carry as a practice is not welcome in Philadelphia despite the fact that it's constitutionally protected behavior and that's offensive to me as a citizen and as a lawyer," Valvo said.

    Gun rights advocates say they're are also offended.

    John Pierce, a co-founder of OpenCarry.org said, Philadelphia police have sent a clear message to gun owners that will chill their rights to openly carry.

    "Even if it's legal, we can punish you financially and by disruptions in your life," he said.

    But the district attorney's office dismissed as "ludicrous" claims it is seeking retaliation or trying to send a message.

    "This office only charges people with offenses that we think we can prosecute," Jamerson said in an interview with FoxNews.com. "We just don't willy-nilly charge a person with a crime as retaliation for an incident."

    The February incident wasn't the first time Philadelphia police officers have confronted Fiorino about his unconcealed gun. Since July, he has been stopped twice and he has had an audio recorder on him each time in case a cop is having a bad day or doesn't understand the law, he said.

    His handgun was confiscated once for five months, but neither occasion escalated like the third encounter.

    Fiorino said he studied Pennsylvania law for a year before he started openly carrying a gun. He said he carries the gun openly because some of his friends have been held up at gunpoint and he's not willing to allow himself to be helpless.

    Police spokesman Evers said Fiorino appears to be inviting trouble from the law by "surreptitiously" recording his encounters with police.

    "If you put everything together, it was more than him walking down the street to go to an auto parts store -- without a jacket in the middle of winter," Evers said.

    But Fiorino denies that he was looking for trouble.

    "How many times does a convenience store need to be robbed to be justified in putting up a security system?" he said.
     
  2. bkt

    bkt New Member

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    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-vUYeJXSrA]Here's the youtube audio of the incident.[/ame]
     

  3. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    People need to start voting with their tax dollars & GTHO of Philly. Take a picture of the cracked bell & split; the city administrators have obviously forgotten the point of the "liberty bell". Maybe they could move it to a free state.

    edit* Maybe the "LEO" was simply trying to encourage the young man to try out planking. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planking_(fad)
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  4. Boggy5

    Boggy5 New Member

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    I actually did listen to this whold confrontation on YouTube. In no way was this police officer investigating a potential crime. Fiorino was more than willing to show him his permit and was very cooperative until the police officer told him to lay down on the ground...which in my opinion, if he's doing it legally why should a citizen have to do that if they are within their legal right. This cop demonstrated typical Philadelpian, Irish anger over something stupid. I don't have a problem with the officer pointing the gun at him, I would expect an officer to have a gun on me until I proved I was doing so legally, and then be sent on my marry way. Not Daughtery, he gets more and more prickish as the confrontation goes on. Then he finds out the guy is recording him and he erupts. Saying that Fiorino did it on purpose; evenso, Daughtery was still in the wrong.

    That being said, I would not advise anyone in any state to carry openly. Say this guy WAS in the parts store, in the front of the checkout line and some gangsters walk in. They quickly survey the place, see some IT nerd has a gun, so they shoot him in the back of the head and proceed with the robbery. Once you carry openly you give away your element of surprise. You will also be viewed, like Fiorino, as a trouble maker, just looking to piss of police.

    Either way, the cop was in the wrong, there is no grounds for any case against Fiorino with reckless endangerment, he was completely calm and cooperative, the cop wouldn't let him show him the permit. But, it all could have been avoided if Fiorino had it concealed, he would have been just as safe if not more, and the Barney Fife of Philly wouldn't have been exposed as the LEO num nuts he is.
     
  5. bkt

    bkt New Member

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    So in light of proof that Dougherty is a douche, you'd be OK with him having a gun on you if you're not doing anything wrong until you prove to the cop you're legal? I've got a big ******* problem with that.
     
  6. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

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    It will be this kind of incident when all hell has broken loose that will touch off CWII.

    As for the Phillie PD, shouldn't the Fed's be all over these guys? :mad:
     
  7. Gojubrian

    Gojubrian New Member

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    So, the police regularly commit arrgravated assault in Philly?
     
  8. Yunus

    Yunus New Member

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    Open carrying requires a permit in Philly to be legal.

    Driving also requires a license to be legal.

    It should be no more legal to stop someone and request to see their permit for carry than it should be to pull someone over simply to see their drivers license.
     
  9. bkt

    bkt New Member

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    Cops do crazy-hard work. They are usually underpaid (at least rookies) and put their lives on the line to try to keep a lid on the insanity. But it's stupid crap like this -- and we're seeing a lot of similar nonsense lately -- that causes a lot of people to feel uneasy around cops. Stuff like this breeds distrust. Now is exactly the wrong time to wonder whether the cops are your friends or not; we need them to be our friends and we need to be able to trust them.
     
  10. Gojubrian

    Gojubrian New Member

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    There's a difference in requesting to see a permit and what these cops did.
     
  11. Yunus

    Yunus New Member

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    I'm saying that even stopping someone and asking to see a permit should be illegal. Cops can't just pull you over to verify you have a valid drivers license, they have to have a valid reason like seeing you speed before pulling you over. Unless this guy was doing something illegal he should have never been stopped in the first place.
     
  12. falseharmonix

    falseharmonix New Member

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    Really now? I have a very large problem with having a gun pointed at me when I'm not violating any law. The cop was obviously unaware of the law, and he was way out of line. The man offered multiple times to show him his permit. He even pointed out the directive that allows him that right. Ignorance is no excuse.
     
  13. M14sRock

    M14sRock New Member

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    And they are gonna try and prosecute this guy? Wow...
     
  14. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

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    Look what NYC did to Bernie Geotz and Plaxico Buress. :rolleyes:

    Geotz was a clear case of self defense and they threw the book at him. And for what? Possessing a non licensed firearm. Keep in mind at that time NYC was almost out of control with crime, whole neighborhoods where LE would not go into after dark. A cop in the subways after dark at that time, almost unheard of.

    Sure Burress is a puts and an idiot but who got hurt? Again, what was the crime ... a non licensed firearm. Not to mention supposedly he has been a model prisoner and been denied early release on more than one occasion. Didn't I just read an article that Cali is being forced by the SCOTUS to release something like 80k prisoners because of so called "unsatisfactory conditions"? :confused:

    It is no surprise that Philly is going after him. Really I don't think they have a choice, either they drop the hammer on him and make him the bad guy or the Philly PD are going to get blasted with a civil suit. Not to mention at some point in time if they continue with their ways the Feds could step in and drop the hammer on them. This sounds like a clear case of blame/smear the victim so the criminal doesn't look so bad.

    :mad:
     
  15. M14sRock

    M14sRock New Member

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    Yep. I hope his atty is a good one.
     
  16. pandamonium

    pandamonium New Member

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    This is a classic case of ignorance. Not only is this LEO ignorant of the law he is supposed to enforce (I am not saying LEOs are supposed to know EVERY law, but it would be good to know some of them!), but he is an ignorant SOB to boot! This is also a good example of the common attitude that gun control develops, people panic as soon as they see a gun and assume an armed person is a criminal.
     
  17. M14sRock

    M14sRock New Member

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    The irony here is that so many people say "The LEO cannot be expected to know every law", but the old adage "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" gets used against civilians all the time.

    Seems to be that a professional LEO should know the laws (they are after all tasked with enforcement of those laws) and that they should be held to a higher standard. There is a reasonable expectation that any professional should have a proficiency in their chosen field.
     
  18. IGETEVEN

    IGETEVEN New Member

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    Another state I would gladly avoid and not even stop to piss on. :rolleyes:

    Ignorance of the law and a clear case of abuse of power. If the sight of an openly carried firearm threatens the security of a LEO that much, he has other underlying psychological issues, other than just safety concerns.

    How many criminals freely open carry a firearm, to attract unwanted attention, to justify these LEO's paranoid actions? :rolleyes:
     
  19. Boggy5

    Boggy5 New Member

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    I guess until you're in the shoes of a police officer in a city where there is a lot of violence, and may have been shot at before; you can't really know how intense it might be seeing someone openly carrying a gun, which is why I think it's retarded to open carry and can't think of one good reason to do so.

    "In light of the fact that Dougherty is a douche" - Now we're talking about hindsight. The way he handled the situation, yes, he's a douche. However, if a cop had his gun on me and told me to slowly get my permit and show it to him, and let me go and said have a nice day, I wouldn't consider him a douche. I haven't been in his shoes, I don't know if he's been shot at before. Now, if I was Fiorino and Dougherty pulled a gun on me again for the same thing, I'd sue his pants off.

    And to the person who posted about the driver's license vs. CWP, that's a good argument in theory, but a gun is an immediate lethal weapon. A car, although it causes death in some situations, is not in the same class as a loaded gun. Just being Devil's advocate here...still not on the side of Dougherty though.
     
  20. pandamonium

    pandamonium New Member

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    The entire situation stems from this officer not knowing the laws he is sworn to enforce. That and the fact that he is an arsehole. If he had known the law about open carry, his reaction MAY have been different. Probably not since he is on a power trip.

    As IGETEVEN said, how many criminals walk around openly carrying? I could understand the officer having a hand on his gun, and asking to see the permit, while asking the person to keep his hands clear of his weapon at all times. That to me would be the acceptable action. But again, it would only work if the LEO actually had an understanding of the laws. I'll bet he is fully versed in the parking laws!!

    Now Philly is going to charge this guy with disorderly persons and what-ever-the-hell-else. I am sure it is just to make him out to be the bad guy after all.

    If this LEO is so frightened at the sight of a gun, he may want to consider a different line of work!!