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Thread: Spokane LEO Encounter

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    Spokane LEO Encounter

    Howdy all,

    This is my first post to the forum, despite lurking for a while. I've been OCing for a bit over a year in the Spokane area, and this incident occured a bit ago but i thought it bore repeating.

    I was on a date to HuHot Mongolian, located in Spo. Valley on Sprague, with a girlfriend one weekday evening. The restaurant was crowded, but not filled to capacity, so seating was prompt. I'd previously OC there several times and never had an issue. The owner/GM has even come by several times, visually noticed the OC and said nothing except for a pleasant, "How's the food today?"

    This day, when heading up to get food, one of the waiters comes by and mentions a bit uncomfortably, "Hey there, another one of the customers just wanted to make sure you had a permit for that thing (he indicated the Glock on my right hip)." I mentioned to him that Open Carry was legal in Washington, and that while i didn't need it, i did also posses a CPL. "Ah, ok, yeah. He's a fireman and was worried. Ok, enjoy your meal." He seemed mollified, and i went back to my business of enjoying the awesome food at HuHot (if you've never been, it's totally worth trying).

    I'd been keeping my situational awareness, having previously noted the gentleman i believe was the source of the complaint. Since management obviously had no issues with me being there, i settled down for a nice dinner.

    Approximately 30 minutes later, as we were finishing up, I see two LEOs enter the place (Sheriff's Office, i believe) and speak to the host. I have direct line of sight with them and immediately realize they're very likely there on my account. I make eye contact with them, keeping a pleasant expression, and wait for them to come to my table, which they do momentarily.

    "Do you have a gun?", LEO 1

    "Yes, Sir. I'm open carrying a pistol on my right hip.", Me.

    "May i see your ID?", LEO 1. I pass him my Military ID and he walks off a few steps to run it.

    "There've been complaints.", LEO 2.

    "I haven't been asked to leave by the Management and i believe Open Carry is legal in Washington. Is that correct, Sir?", Me.

    "I'm not sure, but there are kids here. Why don't you at least cover it up?", LEO 2.

    LEO 1 comes back and hands me my ID card.

    "Sorry, we got a complaint from someone here. Is there a reason you are carrying openly? The owner may not like it.", LEO 1.

    "It's legal for me to do so and as something of a political statement. I haven't been asked not to by the management, and i've come here carrying openly before.", Me.

    "How about you just cover it up? You can still get to it quick, and there are no problems.?", LEO 2

    "I don't think i'd be comfortable with that.", Me.

    Eventually the LEOs leave uneventfully. I make eye contact with the suspected complainant, with a bit of a sad smile on my face. And on the way out after our meal i have words with the host. He assures me the restaurant has no issue with my open carry and that they did not place the call to 911. We swap pleasantries and i leave.

    Two interesting take-aways from this seem to be: The LEO asked me to do something that may have been illegal. In my case, i had my CPL on my person, but if i hadn't had one, or had it with me, him asking me to cover up would have been asking me to commit an illegal act. At the time he asked me to, he had no idea if i had a CPL or not. One of the LEOs seemed uncomfortable with the fact that i was OCing and unfamiliar with the law. The other was professional, and you could tell he was only responding to the call in a perfunctory manner. Also, HuHot Mongolian is a very OC friendly business, even if sometimes the have a customer who is not.

    This was my first Man-With-A-Gun call, and i felt the need to share.

    Also, "Hello" to the forum community.

    -J

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    Thumbs up

    Welcome! It sounds like you handled yourself very well. I probably wouldn't have given up my ID quite so easily, but I did like that you declined to cover up on his suggestion. One concern I have is that the sheep may have thought you were handing over a permit, and since the police don't do the decent thing and educate the complainant...

    Overall, good job. Hope to see you post more!
    Last edited by ManInBlack; 04-30-2012 at 09:34 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManInBlack View Post
    Welcome! It sounds like you handled yourself very well. I probably wouldn't have given up my ID quite so easily, but I did like that you declined to cover up on his suggestion. Once concern I have is that the sheep may have thought you were handing over a permit, and since the police don't do the decent thing and educate the complainant...

    Overall, good job. Hope to see you post more!
    I'm not sure this is correct as I have only heard it through people I work with, a few being chiefs in the navy.

    but I believe if you are in the service and a police asks for your ID you must present your military ID to the officer regardless if you are in uniform or not.

    If not disregard this comment

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    Regular Member Batousaii's Avatar
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    - Welcome to the forum,
    - I think you did fine there.
    - Not sure about military having to produce mil-id though, I'll leave that to those that know.

    - I haven't had a police encounter (or civi) while eating, but I think I would take info to charge the department for my meal. If they want to interrupt my personal time and space for conducting myself in a legal and legitimate fashion, well, then they can compensate me for it. realistically I know they wouldn't pay it, but i think it would help get the point across.

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    Regular Member hermannr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlacsamana1989 View Post
    I'm not sure this is correct as I have only heard it through people I work with, a few being chiefs in the navy.

    but I believe if you are in the service and a police asks for your ID you must present your military ID to the officer regardless if you are in uniform or not.

    If not disregard this comment
    Wether this is a requirement, or not, it is a good idea as there are certain exemptions for military (depends on the state) that may work in your favor.

    To the OP. You did well.

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    Campaign Veteran MSG Laigaie's Avatar
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    I think you carried yourself well. I would have asked the LEOs to take it outside tho, as to not upset the entire restaurant. I would have also asked them to bring the complainant out with us for his education. That's just me.
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    Campaign Veteran gogodawgs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Laigaie View Post
    I think you carried yourself well. I would have asked the LEOs to take it outside tho, as to not upset the entire restaurant. I would have also asked them to bring the complainant out with us for his education. That's just me.
    What? No. Never take it outside with LEO. Never. You lose witnesses. You were there legally and deserve not to be hassled. Let the entire restaurant witness a calm, polite, courteous open carry advocate exercise their rights!
    And the complainant need not be detained by LE either.
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    I think you did well, but you were not in uniform acting on behalf of the military so you do not need to provide a military ID. (although we do get a little professional courtesy slack sometime) You could also use the standard "Am I being detained?" No? Thank you have a nice day. Even though I have a CPL in the car, I would ask if they want me to break the law by covering up?

    What do children have to do with anything? I love that question. One of the many reasons I carry a gun is for protecting my children who are not old enough to legally carry a gun themselves. Not once has my gun jumped out of the holster and gone full auto spraying women and children. ++Rant over++

    Anyway don't let the encounter change your way of carry, welcome to the forum.
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    Could the police tell if you were military by what you were wearing? If not, then they had no reason to ask for ID. And I personally would not produce ID for them under these circumstances.

    Also, the point about not knowing, yet, if you had a CPL and asking you to cover up your gun... This has happened to me, except in my situation, the officer had been informed by me that I didn't have my CPL on my person. He still said that " It would be OK this time..." I then asked him, "So officer, you're asking me to commit a crime by covering my pistol, even when I just told you I don't have my CPL on me?"

    That was the end of that when he knew I had him by the "you-know-whats'". (This was a bicycle patrol officer, and he had his partner with him, who heard the entire thing.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpyderTattoo View Post
    Could the police tell if you were military by what you were wearing? If not, then they had no reason to ask for ID. And I personally would not produce ID for them under these circumstances.

    Also, the point about not knowing, yet, if you had a CPL and asking you to cover up your gun... This has happened to me, except in my situation, the officer had been informed by me that I didn't have my CPL on my person. He still said that " It would be OK this time..." I then asked him, "So officer, you're asking me to commit a crime by covering my pistol, even when I just told you I don't have my CPL on me?"

    That was the end of that when he knew I had him by the "you-know-whats'". (This was a bicycle patrol officer, and he had his partner with him, who heard the entire thing.)
    The way I read it, he chose to hand over a military ID, as opposed to his DL or something else. The LEO did not specifically demand a MIL ID.

    OP: You did well! MIL ID was probably a good choice since it would have your name and not much else really identifying info that the LEO could access. And it doesn't belong to the state so he can't legally confiscate it. And not taking it outside is a good move. As the other poster said, witnesses are GOOD. Besides the idiot who made the call could see exactly how little the LEOs could do, sort of an "in his face" thing.

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    you should have complained about the cop's gun ... cover it up, huh? hehehe

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    Regular Member decklin's Avatar
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    Military ID's have the service members ss# on the back. I was never in the habit of just handing mine over.
    As far as the requirement to hand over a military ID if requested by police the answer is no. The Gov't has no regulation stating you must ID yourself. The service member is to follow state law. Service members report to their superiors. A police officer holds no position in the chain of command.
    Overall it sounds like you did well. I think the only thing I would have done differently is I would not have ID'd myself. You had no obligation to hand over ID.
    I would not advise "taking it outside."
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    Regular Member Mainsail's Avatar
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    I'm going to go against the flow here and say you did not do that well.

    When the officer asked for your ID you should ask the officer, "Am I being detained?" If he says no, then go on about your business. If he says yes, that he is detaining you, ask, "For suspicion of what crime are you detaining me?" The police cannot detain you for behaving lawfully. If he answers something similar to, "Well, you're carrying a gun" remind him that it is legal to do so and say nothing else. Nothing. Don't debate, don't try to teach them the law, sit there quietly and make a note of the time.

    Most of the time the officer will attempt to avoid the question because he knows he cannot detain you, but he can have a consensual chat with you just like anyone else. He may try to appeal to your law abiding citizen side, like he did when he mentioned the children in the restaurant (what does that have to do with anything?). He may tell you he has to contact you because it's an investigation. Whatever.

    Am I being detained?
    If no- "Have a nice day officer" and go on about your business.
    If yes- "For suspicion of what crime are you detaining me?" and say nothing else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Laigaie View Post
    I think you carried yourself well. I would have asked the LEOs to take it outside tho, as to not upset the entire restaurant. I would have also asked them to bring the complainant out with us for his education. That's just me.
    MSG, you show remarkable restraint...more than I think I could by far. I think I'd be a little more cautious of aggressive cops after I've had my life threatened by a cop when I wasn't doing anything illegal. The bad apples amongst the departments...including the ones who want to intimidate you into doing what they think is the "right thing"...should be revealed to the entire restaurant. My first instinct used to be, "Oh, well it's understandable. They've just got to check you out, let them have the ID to make things run smooth." But now my default, especially after being told by a cop friend of mine that "We've gone over how to handle the open carry situation so many times in our department.", is to want to tell them to go pound sand (which would be to say, "Am I being detained officer?" lol). If I'm not doing anything illegal and they even know I'm not...then go elsewhere and actually fight some crime. And ESPECIALLY if I'm doing something like having a dinner out at a restaurant. NavyLCDR (I think) had a good analogy...why don't they also check out every father in the restaurant too...make sure they aren't kidnapping that little girl. You know, for the kids sake.

    *rant not directed at you by the way, MSG*

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    Regular Member Difdi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainsail View Post
    When the officer asked for your ID you should ask the officer, "Am I being detained?" If he says no, then go on about your business. If he says yes, that he is detaining you, ask, "For suspicion of what crime are you detaining me?" The police cannot detain you for behaving lawfully. If he answers something similar to, "Well, you're carrying a gun" remind him that it is legal to do so and say nothing else. Nothing. Don't debate, don't try to teach them the law, sit there quietly and make a note of the time.
    A very good point. I might also point out to the officer that he is also wearing a holstered pistol, that the law says he can carry legally, just as it says you can do so. It's a fair point to make, since if you run into a LEO who believes that no law can authorize someone to be armed (tons of those in Philadelphia, for example), then the officer wouldn't be able to be armed either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Difdi View Post
    A very good point. I might also point out to the officer that he is also wearing a holstered pistol, that the law says he can carry legally, just as it says you can do so. It's a fair point to make, since if you run into a LEO who believes that no law can authorize someone to be armed (tons of those in Philadelphia, for example), then the officer wouldn't be able to be armed either.
    Well, not exactly. You have the right idea, except there is no law that "allows" open carry. Open carry is legal because there is no law restricting it.
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    This was handled like a true champ!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Laigaie View Post
    I think you carried yourself well. I would have asked the LEOs to take it outside tho, as to not upset the entire restaurant. I would have also asked them to bring the complainant out with us for his education. That's just me.
    Quote Originally Posted by gogodawgs View Post
    What? No. Never take it outside with LEO. Never. You lose witnesses. You were there legally and deserve not to be hassled. Let the entire restaurant witness a calm, polite, courteous open carry advocate exercise their rights!
    And the complainant need not be detained by LE either.
    I agree with GoGo, they can control you and intimidate alot easier with less witnesses also if you stay inside you can teach an entire resturaunt you are legal to openly carry without a permit after the police can do nothing about your properly holstered firearm. If they want ID, ask them to recite the RCW that requires you to show it unless you are being detained or arrested, if not, thank them and let them know THEY are free to go.
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    Regular Member Fallschirmjäger's Avatar
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    "I'm detaining you for being suspicious." Just because you ask doesn't mean they're going to answer anything further than 'yes, you're being detained.'
    ... of course, it's not really going to help in the following lawsuit when they're only articulable suspicion, in it's entirety is "I saw him standing there, out in public, talking on a cellphone, with a firearm on his side."
    Last edited by Fallschirmjäger; 04-30-2012 at 09:18 PM.

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    Funny, I was just OC at HuHot on Friday with no issues..... The City of Spokane Valley PD is contracted through the Sheriffs office, so those would have been Deputies that approached you. Normally Spokane County Sheriffs are good about OC. I would write an email to the Sheriffs office and politely explain your encounter/situation and inform them that your dinner date was interrupted for no good reason by their deputies. Maybe some retraining is in order? There is a Training Bulletin for SCSO that I have a copy of, just got to get it onto the computer and I'll upload it for you.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fallschirmjäger View Post
    "I'm detaining you for being suspicious." Just because you ask doesn't mean they're going to answer anything further than 'yes, you're being detained.'
    Well, in theory, I suppose it would remind the cop that what he is doing is illegal, and force him to try to justify his lawbreaking to himself, in hopes that by repeated application, his conscience will kickstart and clue him into the fact that what he is doing is not only illegal, but wrong.

    This is presuming of course, that the average street cop with whom one is likely to come into contact possesses a scintilla of intellectual honesty, a topic on which I remain a persuadable skeptic.
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    Regular Member sawah's Avatar
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    I'm not sure why you say they were both being professional. Neither was. They asked for an ID in absence of legal right since there was no RAS, and it appears both of them lied and said the owner didn't like it.

    Some day someone will say 'I'm going to call 911 and tell them there are two people here in uniform at a restaurant who obviously don't know the law and they're harassing me, send a sergeant immediately and protect me from these possible fake LEOs.' Then we will have something.

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    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fallschirmjäger View Post
    "I'm detaining you for being suspicious." Just because you ask doesn't mean they're going to answer anything further than 'yes, you're being detained.'
    ... of course, it's not really going to help in the following lawsuit when they're only articulable suspicion, in it's entirety is "I saw him standing there, out in public, talking on a cellphone, with a firearm on his side."
    Yeah, "you're under arrest for resisting arrest," was one of the best lines I've ever heard from a police officer. It was from a police check point in Texas.
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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainsail
    When the officer asked for your ID you should ask the officer, "Am I being detained?"
    If he says no, then go on about your business.
    I believe it's a recommendation from Citizen (who may be by to speak for himself), but if you have to ask, you're already being detained.

    Instead of "am I", ask "why am I being detained".
    If s/he can't come up with a legal reason, or is unprepared for the question & says "you're not", say goodbye.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKEgal View Post
    I believe it's a recommendation from Citizen (who may be by to speak for himself), but if you have to ask, you're already being detained.

    Instead of "am I", ask "why am I being detained".
    If s/he can't come up with a legal reason, or is unprepared for the question & says "you're not", say goodbye.
    Yeah, what do I know, it's not like I've ever been detained, or cuffed, or arrested for open carry.

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