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Thread: OC Encounter - West Haven Police

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    OC Encounter - West Haven Police

    Traveled to CT from Virginia for a surprise party for my 79 y.o old aunt; stayed at Marnick's in Stratford. On Sunday, June 9, left early to go see boyhood home in West Haven. Went to mass at Our Lady of Victory, cruised by the old neighborhood, down Ocean Avenue to Savin Rock, then went to look for a place to eat.

    Found a diner on Main Street called Sandy's Kitchen. Place was very full of patrons, so staff separated two tables and set up one for me since I was alone and the other could be used for other customers. I place an order with waitress. Elderly, obese fellow at adjacent table wearing W.H.F.D. hat keeps staring at my glock, asks if am W.H. police. I smile at him. "No, just a visitor from out of state coming for a family gathering." "Are you a detective?" he asks. "No, just a citizen." "You're undercover!" he suggests. "No, I'm not polkice." So his eyes get big and he says "Well I hope you at least have a permit!" Yes, I do. After some friendly banter he gets up to leave and we both exchange pleasantries.

    I'm on my thrid cup of coffee waiting for my food (kitchen was overwhelmed by the crowd) when two uniformed officers walk in and straddle me behind my seat. The one to my right is an older guy with name tag that says "Matteo" and "Training Officer". Younger cop who needed a shave (YCWNAS) is standing left flank rear. Matteo demands my permit, which I hand to him. He says "You have to show a permit to have that gun." I ask him if I'm suspected of something and he gets angry, ordering me to stand up, and "go outside." Now everything stops and everybody in the place is watching as I'm being taken outside by two cops.

    We stop just outlside the screen door at the entrance where presumably everyone inside can see and hear what is going on. Matteo steps into my face and screams "WHAT PART OF WHAT I SAID DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?!!" Now he's waving the permit I gave him in my face and yelling "YOU HAVE TO HAVE A PERMIT TO CARRY A GUN AND GIVE IT TO ME WHEN I ASK FOR IT." Meanwhile two more uniformed officers have arrived and I'm surrounded by them at the entrance. We're blocking patrons from coming and going, and one guy in a party triyng to get past us into the door looks at all of us and says "This must be a very dangerous place."

    Matteo angrily bellows "I'VE BEEN A POLICE OFFICER FOR 30 YEARS AND NEVER FELT THE NEED TO OPEN CARRY A GUN OFF DUTY!" He pulls out a pad and pen and starts writing down everything from my permit while lecturing me that guns in the open scare people. He says "You were confronted by other patrons in there?" "No", I said. "Other patrons confronted you about carrying a gun?" he insists again. No, only "had a discussion with one guy who asked if I was police, and I told him no, I am just visiting from Virginia", I said.

    Now YCWNAS starts lecturing me that open carry is illegal in Connecticut, no one can just go around with a gun exposed and in sight, it has to be concealed, blah, blah, when Matteo interrups and corrects him that open carry is legal in Connecticut if you have a permit. Then Matteo whirls to me and says "BUT YOU ALREADY KNOW THAT, DON'T YOU." "Yes", I answer.

    Matteo then seemed confused over that fact that I'm from Virginia but have a Connecticut permit, asks if I lived in CT when I applied for it (even though the permit has a VA address). "No" and then I explain that CT state police issue non-resident permits. He ponders this and asks me for another form of ID, so I give him my VA drivers license which he compares to the permit and writes down all the info from that as well. From the time he realizes that I am from out of state, his angry bullying and rude atttempts to intimidate and provoke me cease abruptly and his demeanor becomes rigidly and authoritatively professional. I believe the change is explained by what he next said to YCWNAS: "There is an open carry group out there that is trying to really push the envelope."

    Then Matteo wants to know that if I traveled from Virginia, how I did I bring a gun through New Jersey and New York? "I traveled in full compliance with the McClure-Volkner act" I responded. He looks at me, and then again waves my permit at me, telling me, "Well you have a permit so you are legal to carry that anyway you want, even openly. You have every legal right to even walk right back into that restaurant with your gun all visible and exposed like that if you want to, even if it bothers people and makes them nervous." So I get my permit back and do exactly that, walk back into the restaurant.

    The waitress greets me with a smile when I step back through the screen door, says jokingly "You're timing is impeccable, your food is just coming out!"
    As I sit down, in comes Matteo again, walks up to me with his pad and pen out and says he wants my phone number. I give him my cell number, and then he says he wants information on any relatives I have in Connecticut. I deflect this one by just saying we're having a family gatheirng in Stratford in the afternoon, and list some surrounding towns I have family coming from. He doesn't push it, and finally leaves.

    Mood in the restaurant seemed to be sympathy for me for what I'd been through. One lady comes over and tells me she's sorry I had to suffer that behavior from the police. Waitress says "This is a high crime area and all of them had to come here just to bother YOU?" Somebody buys me a cup of coffee. Later I get up to pay at the register, tell cashier my GPS died this morning and ask where I can buy another. She pulls out ads from the day's newpaper and she and another cusomter sitting at the counter are very friendly and helpful in giving me advice and directions on where to get one.

    In all my travels to other OC states and even elsewhere in CT (Orange, Stratford, Milford, Norwich, Shelton, etc.) I've never been treated so rudely by police trying to intimidate me just for being legally armed. Matteo started out spoiling for a fight and seemingly trying to provoke me into a reason to arrest me. I believe he assumed me to be some local OC activist "trying to push the envelope" (by exercising a legal right?) that he wanted to make an example of.

    From my observations, open carry appears to be rare in CT, and perhaps therein lies the problem. West Haven police at least, desperately need more interaction with legally armed citizens as a training opportunity to get them used to citizen carry as the norm. To that end, the next day, Monday June 10, I left Marnick's in Stratford early in the morning and headed back up 95N to West Haven again to see if the over-reaction would be repeated. I found my way back to Sandy's Kitchen where on a Monday morning there were only about 25 patrons and three staff. Had a liesurely breakfast and milled about the parking lot before leaving for other things I needed to do before my return home to Virginia. In the parkking lot I saw a W.H. police car coming down the street which turned right, past Sandy's (which is at an intersection), but he just kept going. Chances are he didn't see me. No issues, no problems on second day.

    Except for my return to West Haven on Monday which was only in response to how I was treated the previous day, I wasn't going about looking for interaction; I had only beein intending to peaceably and legally go about my business.

    West Haven might be an appropriate venue for a couple back-to-back (since they are sure to over-react the first time) weekend OC gatherings around Savin Rock or somewhere just to get the PD de-sensitized and used to it. The bigotry against gun owners and contempt for the law even when at least one of them knows and understands OC is legal is disturbing.
    Last edited by Riverdance; 06-11-2013 at 06:02 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Regular Member FreeInAZ's Avatar
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    Re: OC Encounter - West Haven Police

    Hopefully you had a recording device (assuming that is allowed in CT?). I find that turning a copy over to a PD's training staff usually does wonders for a officers future interactions with OCers and demonstrates the need for refresher training in gun law / interaction with the public. You handled it pretty well.
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    Thanks, FreeInAZ. I thought of my digital recorder just before I was leaving for the trip, but didn't have time to research its legality in CT at the last minute, so departed without it.

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Recording is fine in Connecticut.

    Did you file a complaint about the officers?
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    No, I had a fast-paced agenda while I was there. But that would certainly be appropriate.

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riverdance View Post
    No, I had a fast-paced agenda while I was there. But that would certainly be appropriate.
    Indeed. Hartford and West Haven both have training problems obviously, but this is still light years ahead of where we were prior to 2010.

    I am a bit concerned about officer RoidRage though. He need to have a sit down with someone.
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    you should have just told the cop that you were a friend of the governor and that's one reason why you got your permit. They would have started saying "yer, sir" in 1 millisecond.

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    One of the things I find disturbing about this whole "encounter" is officer Matteo is a "Training Officer". Seriously? So does he "train" the newer officers to berate law abiding Citizens too? Obviously he's not doing a very good job as the younger officer obviously didn't get any guidance on if OC was legal or not. Officers like Matteo also do not help the public's perception of LEO's by treating people in this manner. To bad you didn't have more time to file a complaint with WHPD before traveling back to VA as he may do the same thing to the next OC'r he encounters. I've yet to have anything but good encounters while OC'ing. Kudo's to you sir for doing so while here.

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    Filed complaint with West Haven Chief of Police John Karajanis, Jr., and cc'd Mayor John M. Picard, Corporation Counsel Peter Barrett, Esq, all ten members of City Council and three Councilmen at Large as well as Accreditation Program Manager and Legal Counsel from Connecticut State Police Dept of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST).

    Will see what kind of response I get.

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    Regular Member KennyB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riverdance View Post
    Filed complaint with West Haven Chief of Police John Karajanis, Jr., and cc'd Mayor John M. Picard, Corporation Counsel Peter Barrett, Esq, all ten members of City Council and three Councilmen at Large as well as Accreditation Program Manager and Legal Counsel from Connecticut State Police Dept of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST).

    Will see what kind of response I get.

    Fantastic!!

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    Regular Member Black_water's Avatar
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    I lived in CT for 30 years and had a CCW.

    I can tell you, open carry is not seen there much. I can also tell you that as far as freedom is concerned, CT is not on the top of the list.

    I am not at all surprised by the way you were treated; not one bit. I had to go back for business in May and I felt like I was behind the iron curtain.

    Glad to know you filed a complaint, unfortunately I think it is going to fall on deaf ears as CT is all about what CT wants, not about your rights.

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black_water View Post
    I lived in CT for 30 years and had a CCW.
    No such thing.

    I can tell you, open carry is not seen there much. I can also tell you that as far as freedom is concerned, CT is not on the top of the list.

    I am not at all surprised by the way you were treated; not one bit. I had to go back for business in May and I felt like I was behind the iron curtain.
    There are quite a few people OCing around Connecticut on a pretty constant basis.
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    Regular Member Maverick9's Avatar
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    Good job on filing paper. Cryin' shame you didn't have a recorder running. Right now, it's a "he said, she said" situation. But I bet when Officer Histrionic tells his side he'll prove your case for you.

    Good luck!

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    Regular Member Black_water's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich B View Post
    No such thing.



    There are quite a few people OCing around Connecticut on a pretty constant basis.
    Funny, because I still have the permit that allowed me to carry concealed. So unless you are arguing about my using "CCW" in place of something else, you don't know what you are talking about.

    I will state again, I lived in the state for 30 years and never once saw anyone open carry...ever.

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    OC Encounter - West Haven Police

    Quote Originally Posted by Black_water View Post
    Funny, because I still have the permit that allowed me to carry concealed. So unless you are arguing about my using "CCW" in place of something else, you don't know what you are talking about.

    I will state again, I lived in the state for 30 years and never once saw anyone open carry...ever.
    We don't have a CCW permit or a concealed permit. We have a Connecticut Permit to Carry Pistols or Revolvers. Nothing concealed about it. Easy to ascertain if you, in fact, have a permit.

    The rest of what you are saying qualifies for 'so what'. What exactly do you think it means that you never saw someone OC during some completely unspecified period of time? I have never seen a bear, but there are plenty around.

    Why are you on a CT forum telling CT residents how CT is?
    Last edited by Rich B; 06-12-2013 at 08:27 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich B View Post
    We don't have a CCW permit or a concealed permit.

    The rest of what you are saying qualifies for 'so what'.

    Why are you on a CT forum telling CT residents how CT is?
    You're the one who make a claim that was false. I did in fact have a permit that you stated I did not.

    As for telling CT residents what CT is like, I simply stated that in my 30 years there I never once saw anyone open carry.

    Grow up.

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black_water View Post
    You're the one who make a claim that was false. I did in fact have a permit that you stated I did not.
    Post a picture of your 'concealed carry permit' or 'ccw'.

    As for telling CT residents what CT is like, I simply stated that in my 30 years there I never once saw anyone open carry.
    And as I said, it means nothing. You clearly could spend some time learning about Connecticut before trying to 'educate' people about Connecticut.

    Grow up.
    I invite you to do the same. Take your rants about the people of our state with you.
    Last edited by Rich B; 06-12-2013 at 08:29 PM.
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    Regular Member Black_water's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich B View Post
    Post a picture of your 'concealed carry permit' or 'ccw'.



    And as I said, it means nothing. You clearly could spend some time learning about Connecticut before trying to 'educate' people about Connecticut.



    I invite you to do the same. Take your rants about the people of our state with you.
    If you want to put your money where your mouth is, I will scan my permit. Otherwise, right from the NRA website (they probably don't know CT law either):

    http://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/state...nnecticut.aspx

    A permit to carry a pistol or revolver is required to carry a handgun on or about one’s person, either openly or concealed, or in a vehicle. However, the Connecticut Board of Firearms Permit Examiners (which reviews denials and revocations of permits) cautions that "every effort should be made to ensure that no gun is exposed to view or carried in a manner that would tend to alarm people who see it."
    So CT does not have permits that allow you to carry concealed?

    lol, please.
    Last edited by Black_water; 06-12-2013 at 09:08 PM.

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black_water View Post
    If you want to put your money where your mouth is, I will scan my permit. Otherwise, right from the NRA website (they probably don't know CT law either):

    http://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/state...nnecticut.aspx
    From the link:
    CARRYING
    A permit to carry a pistol or revolver is required to carry a handgun on or about one’s person, either openly or concealed, or in a vehicle
    Again, we have a Permit to Carry Pistols or Revolvers. Concealed isn't even defined in our statutes, much less does it have anything to do with our pistol permit.

    And yes, please post your 'concealed carry permit' or 'ccw'.

    So CT does not have permits that allow you to carry concealed?
    No one has asserted that. Not once.
    Last edited by Rich B; 06-12-2013 at 09:10 PM.
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    Regular Member Black_water's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich B View Post
    From the link:


    Again, we have a Permit to Carry Pistols or Revolvers. Concealed isn't even defined in our statutes, much less does it have anything to do with our pistol permit.

    And yes, please post your 'concealed carry permit' or 'ccw'.



    No one has asserted that. Not once.
    A distinction without a difference.

    The current permit allows for concealed carry, so calling it such is not incorrect.

    That's twenty minutes I can't get back.

  21. #21
    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black_water View Post
    A distinction without a difference.

    The current permit allows for concealed carry, so calling it such is not incorrect.

    That's twenty minutes I can't get back.
    It makes all the difference when people for the last 30 years have called it that and police enforced it as that.

    It is on par with not understanding the difference between a 'clip' and a 'magazine'. And it becomes especially important when someone is professing to know all about Connecticut and open carry in Connecticut.
    Last edited by Rich B; 06-12-2013 at 09:31 PM.
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    Regular Member Fallschirmjäger's Avatar
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    I have to say that I too, see it as a distinction With a difference. While one may carry concealed with a weapons carry permit, one usually cannot carry openly with a concealed carry permit.
    Instead of fighting over technicalities, why not graciously accept what the license actually is?
    Last edited by Fallschirmjäger; 06-12-2013 at 10:04 PM.

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    <soapbox>
    While I do not have my permit yet (waiting in the queue), I understand that the CT Pistol permit allows for both Open and Concealed. It is not one or the other, it is both. This is why it is a "Connecticut State Pistol Permit". I seem to have read about some states that require a special permit to carry concealed, CT is not one of them. Even if someone has "never" seen anyone else open carry does not mean it is not being done. Some people choose to carry openly and some choose to carry concealed. I have never seen anyone carry openly in CT (except the LEO's and at the gun safety class) nor have I seen anyone carry concealed. So by not seeing anyone carry concealed, that means it is not done?

    You may think it is a minor issue whether or not CT has a Concealed Carry permit. For those of you who have had permits for many years, be civil about it. There are many (like my wife and I) who are just beginning the process and are looking for information, constructive conversations and community. So for the sake of the new people who are seeking information, please don't argue over small things like this. An intelligent person can see that the permit allows for both OC and CC, they even cover it in the gun safety classes. Arguing about things like this only muddy the waters for people looking for information.

    Thank you.

    </soapbox>

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fallschirmjäger View Post
    I have to say that I too, see it as a distinction With a difference. While one may carry concealed with a weapons carry permit, one usually cannot carry openly with a concealed carry permit.
    Instead of fighting over technicalities, why not graciously accept what the license actually is?
    What is it? An intrusion into your RKBA IMO

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maverick9 View Post
    Good job on filing paper. Cryin' shame you didn't have a recorder running. Right now, it's a "he said, she said" situation. But I bet when Officer Histrionic tells his side he'll prove your case for you.

    Good luck!
    In my complaint I included the responses from people in the restaurant, so the fact that they know there were some witnesses should hopefully keep the officers' statements from veering too far from the truth, if any are inclined otherwise.

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