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Thread: VCDL reports first SWATing incident

  1. #1
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    VCDL reports first SWATing incident

    From today's VCDL ALERT

    In the first case that I know of in Virginia, a gun owner who was open carrying has gotten “SWATTED” - where someone makes a false report to 911. In this case the claim was that the gun owner had robbed a 7-11. In reality the gun owner simply went into the 7–11 to purchase something and then left.

    The good news is that due to the professionalism of the Fairfax County Police, the gun owner, when found and stopped, was not put in unreasonable danger while FFC PD investigated the charge.

    At tonight’s VCDL meeting I will play the 911 recording, which I just received. The victim, Robert Dickens, as well as some representatives of the Fairfax County PD will be there and will talk to the group about the incident and SWATTING.

    For those who can’t attend tonight, I will have more information on the incident, how VCDL is going to handle any other such events, etc. in the next Alert.

    ....

    See you tonight!

    Fellowship starts at 7:30 PM and the meeting is called to order at 8:00 PM.

    The meeting is open to the public, so bring along some friends and family!

    Directions: http://vcdl.org/node/180
    This is sufficiently of note that I am going to try to make both meeting, even if it means going North of the Ni after dark.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

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    Activist Member Wolf_shadow's Avatar
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    I can't attend due to location, travel time and work responsibility. So guess I have to wait. Was the person making the false report arrested? If not why?

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    Regular Member The Truth's Avatar
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    Damn, I have to work tonight...

    Pretty messed up situation. Some people are sickos.
    Sic semper evello mortem tyrannis.

    μολὼν λαβέ

    Quote Originally Posted by stealthyeliminator
    So in actuality you have no evidence that anything wrong took place, you only believe that it could be spun to appear wrong. But it hasn't been. The truth has a funny way of coming out with persistence, even if it was spun negatively the truth would find its way because these people will not accept less.
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    The truth causes some people so much pain they can only respond with impotent laughable insults. Life must be rough for those people.

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    I just read this bit of information in the VCDL Alert e-mail. I do hope that the person who made a false report will be arrested and prosecuted.

    As we already know, the anti-self defense crowd is not against violence, they simply wish to be the only ones who can render it and will threaten such against those who disagree.

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    Regular Member kb4cvn's Avatar
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    Question Someone getting killed by LEO's because of SWATing Incident -- Penality?

    Having not occurred in the Commonwealth yet, in the event of a false report to police on a OC'er, which results in the death at the hands of the Police in their too often overzealous response (IE: John B. Geer in Fairfax County in 2013), I wonder if a Bill could be passed in Richmond, codifying that if a false complaint is given to Law Enforcement (aka: SWATing) which results in the death of an innocent person who was simply exercising their 2nd Amendment Right, the person making the false complaint could be additionally charged with CAPITAL MURDER.

    Comments Anyone?

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kb4cvn View Post
    Having not occurred in the Commonwealth yet, in the event of a false report to police on a OC'er, which results in the death at the hands of the Police in their too often overzealous response (IE: John B. Geer in Fairfax County in 2013), I wonder if a Bill could be passed in Richmond, codifying that if a false complaint is given to Law Enforcement (aka: SWATing) which results in the death of an innocent person who was simply exercising their 2nd Amendment Right, the person making the false complaint could be additionally charged with CAPITAL MURDER.

    Comments Anyone?
    I do not think that there is much chance of this making it through the General Assembly as Capital Murder.
    https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/leg...00+cod+18.2-31

    However, just as the driver of getaway vehicle can be charged with murder/homicide when a death occurs as a result of their participation, so should the caller/complainant be exposed when a death or injury occurs as a result of their actions.

    Think that even property loss/damaged should be laid squarely in their lap - but with corresponding lesser charges.

    These should be placed before our legislators for very serious consideration. Teeth are needed, sharp ones.
    Last edited by Grapeshot; 10-24-2014 at 12:01 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    From today's VCDL ALERT



    This is sufficiently of note that I am going to try to make both meeting, even if it means going North of the Ni after dark.

    stay safe.
    I don't think that the PD was professional AT ALL. They stopped someone without RAS or PC, harassed him, and wasted his time.

    The gun owner WAS put in unreasonable risk of death. A sneeze and they might have shot him to death, who knows.

    These cowboycops who harassed the gun owner should be fired.

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    If anyone made it to the meeting, can you please provide a summary?

    Thanks!

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    I wanted to make it to the meeting, but decided that self-preservation was more important. Yesterday was my fifth anniversary, and my wife (who can outshoot me) already had other plans for us.

    I look forward to hearing a report from the meeting.
    Alma 43:47 - "And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed...."
    Self defense isn't just a good idea, it's a commandment.

  10. #10
    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    I don't think that the PD was professional AT ALL. They stopped someone without RAS or PC, harassed him, and wasted his time.

    The gun owner WAS put in unreasonable risk of death. A sneeze and they might have shot him to death, who knows.

    These cowboycops who harassed the gun owner should be fired.
    +1

    Will FFC PD change their policy/procedures now that they have been SWATted? I suspect that the answer is no. If professionalism is defined as not ventilating a LAC then we might want to discuss the definition a little.

    Is there news story?

    Then there is this (earlier this year I think):
    Matt : With the recent proliferation of "SWATting" pranks with high profile victims like Brian Krebs and Wolf Blitzer, is there anything Fairfax County can do to protect us from being assaulted by our own police? What is Fairfax doing to confirm the validity of information provided by 911 callers? What should a victim of a SWATting incident do?


    Stephen Souder : Matt, SWATting 9-1-1 calls have been in the news frequently, particularly on the West Coast where many celebrities have been "SWATted." Fairfax has experienced two such calls lately, and the media reported one in Montgomery County Saturday evening. A person making a SWATting call could be located anywhere in the world and through technology available to them can make the call appear, by phone number and address, as if it were coming from an address in Fairfax County. Our 9-1-1 call takers are very proficient in soliciting information from callers; however, in a SWATting call, they're not actually speaking with a SWATter. The SWATter is communicating by text through a TTY method commonly used by the hearing impaired community. Consequently, when we ask questions of the SWATter, a TTY relay service is the intermediary. As was the case in Montgomery County on Saturday, an astute 9-1-1 supervisor recognized the call as suspicious. As in Fairfax County's experience, the information provided by the SWATter raised enough concern that appropriate checks were made to ensure the public's and officer safety before entering the location reported.

    http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/askfair...aspx?roomid=62
    So, nothing will be done..maybe. It seems that SWATting is a issue but not that urgent a issue for FFC PD...I mean the dude had a gun, visible, right there on his hip...obviously a danger to the q-munity.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Regular Member speed41ae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kb4cvn View Post
    Having not occurred in the Commonwealth yet, in the event of a false report to police on a OC'er, which results in the death at the hands of the Police in their too often overzealous response (IE: John B. Geer in Fairfax County in 2013), I wonder if a Bill could be passed in Richmond, codifying that if a false complaint is given to Law Enforcement (aka: SWATing) which results in the death of an innocent person who was simply exercising their 2nd Amendment Right, the person making the false complaint could be additionally charged with CAPITAL MURDER.

    Comments Anyone?
    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    I do not think that there is much chance of this making it through the General Assembly as Capital Murder.
    https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/leg...00+cod+18.2-31
    I think that the best way to get this passed is to make it generic as possible. Make the law so that if someone makes a false report against anyone for any reason they are responsible for any damages and receive the same charges as if they were a getaway driver.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speed41ae View Post
    I think that the best way to get this passed is to make it generic as possible. Make the law so that if someone makes a false report against anyone for any reason they are responsible for any damages and receive the same charges as if they were a getaway driver.
    The best way for it to get passed is for a cop to get killed while responding to a bogus call.
    That'd get the ball rolling.

  13. #13
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    The best way for it to get passed is for a cop to get killed while responding to a bogus call.
    That'd get the ball rolling.
    Unfortunately, I think that would play right into a SWATing caller's wet dream too. I can just see the headline: Murdered By Lone Gunman - Officer Doe, 10 years with the dept and 2 meritorious awards, left behind a wife and 2 children.

    An officer down call is going to generate a ton of potentially lethal response on the heretofore innocent gun owner and even quite possibly be used as evidence that "Yep - they were right. That gun carrier was really a bad dude."

    LEA and individual LEOs must verify before unleashing the hounds from hell, not justify after a tragedy.

    When the claim is made that I am doing something illegal/threatening but not witnessed by a LEO, then observe me and interview the caller - look for confirmation or denial. Do NOT call out a preemptive air strike on me while I sit there peacefully drinking my coffee.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Remedy is to amend § 18.2-460. Obstructing justice; penalty.

    Either modify subsection D to deal with SWATTing and make the penalty a felony or create a new subsection E to deal with this growing problem.

    18.2-460. Obstructing justice; penalty.
    D. Any person who knowingly and willfully makes any materially false statement or representation to a law-enforcement officer or an animal control officer employed pursuant to § 3.2-6555 who is in the course of conducting an investigation of a crime by another is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

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    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    ... When the claim is made that I am doing something illegal/threatening but not witnessed by a LEO, then observe me and interview the caller - look for confirmation or denial. Do NOT call out a preemptive air strike on me while I sit there peacefully drinking my coffee.
    Uh? You do know what SWATting is, right?
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    Quote Originally Posted by grapeshot View Post
    unfortunately, i think that would play right into a swating caller's wet dream too. I can just see the headline: Murdered by lone gunman - officer doe, 10 years with the dept and 2 meritorious awards, left behind a wife and 2 children.

    An officer down call is going to generate a ton of potentially lethal response on the heretofore innocent gun owner and even quite possibly be used as evidence that "yep - they were right. That gun carrier was really a bad dude."

    lea and individual leos must verify before unleashing the hounds from hell, not justify after a tragedy.

    When the claim is made that i am doing something illegal/threatening but not witnessed by a leo, then observe me and interview the caller - look for confirmation or denial. Do not call out a preemptive air strike on me while i sit there peacefully drinking my coffee.
    + 1 million.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by va_tazdad View Post
    + 1 million.
    Kinda funny how he always makes sense Taz!

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    Quote Originally Posted by grylnsmn View Post
    I wanted to make it to the meeting, but decided that self-preservation was more important. Yesterday was my fifth anniversary, and my wife (who can outshoot me) already had other plans for us.

    I look forward to hearing a report from the meeting.
    I went to the meeting last night. I heard a recording of the 911 call (name and phone of the caller redacted), and heard from the victim of the swatting. In brief, the victim had gone to a 7-11 in Baily's Cross-Roads, and had purchased a cup of coffee and a pack of cigarettes. He then got on his motorcycle and drove off. The caller, seeing his firearm, then placed a call to 911 and described an armed robbery.

    Firstly, the caller was very inarticulate and seemingly confused when the dispatcher asked him for clarification. It was later made known to us that this particular caller has a history of such 911 calls. Why he remains free to continue remains unclear, but it was suggested that his (perceived limited) mental capacity may have something to do with it.

    Secondly, the victim was very cool when four squad cars with 8 FFCPD pulled him over. He immediately signaled that he was pulling into a parking lot away from traffic, turned off his bike, and placed his hands on his helmet while police approached. Per his testimony, the police, while cautious, did NOT have weapons drawn as they approached him. He volunteered that he was armed, and the police carefully removed his sidearm and cleared it (as well as his pocket knife). After some questioning, ID checks and the like (and, one supposes, either a phone call or a physical visit to the 7-11 in question to verify the robbery report), the police returned his sidearm and pocket and allowed him to continue on his way.

    Given what could have been a fatal event, things turned out quite well in the end (if one considers merely surviving a SWATting to be a good thing).

  19. #19
    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    What legal/civil recourse is available?
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

  20. #20
    Activist Member JamesCanby's Avatar
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    Based on the 911 recording, the dispatcher seemed to have his doubts about this caller, even to the point of trying to discover what bus he was on, perhaps to detain him for making the call. Thinking that they had to react, the dispatcher apparently dispatched an armed robbery call with the description, to which the police reacted, caught up with the citizen and cleared him.

    Couldn't this whole incident have been prevented by making a quick call to the McDonalds in question and asking if there had been an armed robbery? Certainly the dispatcher must have had doubts because there was apparently no call from McDonalds or even a silent alarm initiated (assuming they have such a device installed).

    Can't we find a way to inject some common sense into the Dispatch scenario? In this case we took four units and eight officers out of service to investigate an incident that had no foundation.

    I hope they do know the caller -- they apparently have his name and cell phone number -- and that they bring him in for an investigatory interview.
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  21. #21
    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    What legal/civil recourse is available?
    From the link posted in my initial post on this topic:
    Matt : With the recent proliferation of "SWATting" pranks with high profile victims like Brian Krebs and Wolf Blitzer, is there anything Fairfax County can do to protect us from being assaulted by our own police? No, other than hope we don't think that you might make a furtive movement...

    What is Fairfax doing to confirm the validity of information provided by 911 callers? Not a dang thing we can do...next question.

    What should a victim of a SWATting incident do? Hopefully not sue us cuz it would be a waste of time and money. Remember, we were told by the 911 drone that you just robbed a C-store with a gun. Count yourself dang lucky we did not ventilate you on sight cus you were packing heat for all to see.

    Operative phrase: "Real slow, like molasses in December...pilgrim."
    Unfortunate that the caller is known to FFC PD and remains in a position to make further calls of this nature.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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    More details from a VCDL.org email Alert:
    --------------------------------------
    Last night Robert Dicken told 75+ VCDL members about his stop by, and interaction with, the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) after a person called 911 and made a false report that Robert had robbed a 7–11 convenience store.

    In reality, Robert had gone into the 7-11 to purchased a few items, paid for them, and then left.


    ROBERT DICKEN’S STORY

    Here is a summary of the event that Robert sent me:

    On 10/15/14 at about 5:30 pm, I stopped at a 7-11 for some coffee in the skyline area of Fairfax.

    Like every other day when I'm off work, I had hopped on my motorcycle for a short ride . Being an open carry proponent, I didn't think twice about putting on my every-day-carry pistol.

    After leaving the 7-11, I went to the Verizon store for some quick shopping. Both stores are within five miles of my home. Chores done, I decided to go for a nice ride around the block.

    What's that Fairfax County officer looking at me like that for? Damn he's going to pull me over! Yep… Lights, boop boop. Sigh.

    Now I'm thinking that I've got my pistol on me and I’m asking myself how I would feel if I were an officer pulling over someone who was armed? [PVC: That is called “empathy,” something that normal, law-abiding people have, but violent criminals lack.]

    Ok, turn the bike off, straddle the bike, interlock your hands on your head, and be calm. [PVC: Doing these steps calmly and slowly probably helped send a clear signal to the SIX responding officers in FOUR patrol cars that Robert was not a threat.]

    As the officer gets out of his car, three other cars show up.

    Wow, what did I do?

    I let the first officer know that I have a firearm on my side. He says, "I know.” I did not move an inch!

    To my surprise not one of the at least six police officers have a weapon pointed at me. [PVC: Hats off to FCPD for their professional handling of this situation! Robert’s life was not unnecessarily endangered during the stop by the police pointing their guns at him.]

    The officer walks up behind me and asks if he can take the weapon from my holster. “Yes, sir,” I replied.

    "Do you have any other weapons on you, sir?”

    “Yes, sir, a knife in my pocket.”

    "Ok I'm going to hold onto that also.”

    “Yes, sir. Why did you stop me?”

    "I will get to that in a minute.” [PVC: Robert wisely decides to temporarily let the issue drop at this point.]

    As I’m being frisked, I’m still not moving and am keeping my hands on my head.

    "Sir, can I put my hands down now?,” I asked when the frisking was concluded.

    “Yes, you can stand at ease.”

    At this point I ask the officer what is going on.

    “Well, we had a person call from 7-11 and they stated that a white guy on a motorcycle robbed the place.”

    I laughed nervously and told the officer that I left a 7-11 30 minutes ago, but that I didn't rob the place! [PVC: This is where an attorney might advise the client to stop talking to the police for fear of saying something innocent that ends up getting misinterpreted. To do so properly, you must verbally indicate you are invoking the Fifth Amendment and stop talking. In this case it’s hard to argue with success, but one should be very, very cautious.]

    I'm getting kind of angry now. I've heard of anti-gun people saying that they will call the police if they see an open carrier and make up some story to get the police to respond in a forceful manner.

    Wow, I could have been killed!

    Ten minutes later I'm on my way. With the police "checking the sanity of the caller.”

    I put a call into the police station the following Monday and sent a email thanking FCPD for being very professional.


    VCDL GETS INVOLVED

    After learning of the event during a phone call from Robert, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Fairfax County and quickly got a copy of the 911 recording. The name and phone number of the person who called were redacted from the recording.

    I also talked to a Lieutenant with the Fairfax County Police Department about the incident. During the conversation I emphasized that VCDL takes SWATTING against a gun owner extremely seriously, especially where false claims that the gun owner committed a violent crime could lead to the gun owner being seriously hurt or even killed by responding officers.

    The Lieutenant said he shared VCDL's concerns about SWATTING and said that FCPD takes such things seriously and would prosecute someone who FCPD can show did it maliciously.

    The problem, I was told, is that the particular person who made the call is familiar to FCPD, as he has made other false calls before. But he has never done them against a citizen, he said. (I don’t know who the previous false calls were against. Perhaps against some police officers?) FCPD is concerned that he has mental health issues, and, if so, they won’t be able to prove intent.


    ZERO TOLERANCE FOR MALICE

    When malicious intent is there, VCDL will encourage the police to prosecute the offender to the full extent of the law and we will encourage the victim to go after the offender civilly as well. It will be OUR turn to do some “swatting” of our own in court.


    911 RECORDING

    Here is a link to the 911 recording. Somebody with a loose screw? On drugs or alcohol? A malicious anti, as he firmly states at one point that Robert took all the cash from the register? Or just delusional?

    From soundcloud.com: http://tinyurl.com/lso8nlt

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    Does anyone know if the OC'er had a personal recorder running?

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blk97F150 View Post
    911 RECORDING

    Here is a link to the 911 recording. Somebody with a loose screw? On drugs or alcohol? A malicious anti, as he firmly states at one point that Robert took all the cash from the register? Or just delusional?

    From soundcloud.com: http://tinyurl.com/lso8nlt
    Based strictly upon the nearly incoherent ramblings of the blithering idiot on this 911 call, the Fairfax police were a bit aggressive and out of order in their stop of the "victim". Especially in light of the fact that they have received calls from this maggot in the past. At least they didn't cuff the victim, throw him to the ground, or shoot him.
    Last edited by SouthernBoy; 10-25-2014 at 08:54 AM.
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    I do not find it believable that the FFPD did not go to the 7-11 first.

    Think about it. Armed robbery, potentially perforated patrons (and/or clerk). I, for one, find their actions WAY over the top.

    "The dispatch called the store and said nobody was robbed. Anyone, or three, feel like making a MB rider crap his pants?".

    Sheesh.

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