1) Saturday, Queerfest at Volunteer Park
I was ejected from Volunteer Park by Lt. S. Bachler, Seattle PD East Precinct. Originally I was stopped by Officer's Avery and Ebinger. They had stated that I was violating Seattle Municipal Code by carrying in the park. There is a Seattle Municipal Code, SMC 18.12.140.
This is preempted by state law.
Repeatedly, I was told that city law superceded state law, that they didn't care about the state preemption statute or what it purported to do, and that if I really wanted to fight it, I can fight it in the courts with lawyers that cost a lot of money. No joke, that's what Lt. Bachler stated.
I did leave the park and came back without my gun. Getting arrested would have left my partner stranded and with no way to get him work from Seattle to Lynnwood. Though some had suggested I should have been cited/arrested and get a hell of a payday, I'm not in the mood to be in county, so I left and came back without my gun.
2) Sunday, Pride Parade, Pridefest at Seattle Center:
At the Pride Parade I had one officer come up to me surprising me from behind, telling me "You realize that you're not allowed to do that at all don't you"? My response: "Sir, I have training advisories from three different departments stating that what I am doing is legal"
I started to pull the training bulletin out out and he stated "I don't want to see that, you asked for it" at that point he got back in his car. I didn't get his name, but his car # was 628. About 2 or 3 minutes later, three bicycle patrol officers clustered around his car and him, and they were talking.
At this point, I'm wondering one of two things: Where they planning on jumping me in surprise, or did they get some form of word that I was coming?
The Parade let out, and everyone was starting to migrate towards Seattle Center.
Realizing that it might be a bad idea to leave suddenly, I went over and approached the officers, and asked them "Am I being detained"? The original officer waved his hand good bye, which to me I interpreted as "you're free to go". So I did.
However I noticed that I was being...stalked...by three Seattle Bike Patrol Officers.
I was walking on the Seattle Center campus and passed the Space Needle as I was approached by Officer (Sgt?) Gracy. Gracy told me that they had received complaints about my open carry intimidating others. He stated that he would have a minimum of two Seattle PD officers shadow me the entire time. It wasn't a matter of an approval, since they technically are not detaining me, just following me.
Anyway, I was walking around for about 5 hours. I handed out a dozen business cards. Two officers hanging around me, sometimes three, and sometimes 5 when I was sitting down near the fountain and I was being conversed with by multiple people. They did keep their distance.
I did have some interesting looks and questions asked of me. I did go to the ACLU-WA booth, and I advised them that I was being followed by two Seattle cops as I was being picking up material, they handed me TWO copies of the "what to do if stopped by police" itty bitty booklet, and told me that they as long as they wanted to waste taxpayers money on following me, they could, but be aware of my rights.
I also had a 15 year old tell me "You'd think they realize that you aren't a threat and leave you alone". Two others in line was in agreement, a lesbian couple.
I went back in to get a soda (of course with two cops tailing me). I had another lesbian couple talk to me, asking me if I was a cop, I said no. "You can do that here in Washington?" "Yes you can." I gave them business cards, and one of the couple stated something that still warms my heart: "You're protecting all of us".
The last two officers who were shadowing me for the last 2 hours were actually pretty nice. They actually introduced themselves to me and we had a good conversation. I honestly cannot remember the names of the officers (to my great regret). One of them commented that "I'm more worried about the guys concealing illegally, at least with you I know where you and I stand". I also got an explanation as to the shadowing in detail: The Sgt. in charge (My guess is Gracy) believed that there would be constant calls to 911 with man with a gun calls. By having officers visibly nearby me, it would reduce the likely hood of people calling 911, because of the factor of "if they can see it and they're not doing anything, he must be ok".
In a way it makes sense, however I did suggest to them that maybe they need to train the 911 dispatchers to keep false calls from going out. He agreed but he didn't believe that the dispatchers would be trained to ignore open carry in a holster. I stated "Well, maybe someone needs to prod them, because this isn't a long term solution on the situation". The officer also related a story from the Folklife Festival in Seattle, where a family criticized him for having a gun in their presence. Now, this is while he was in uniform. His response was "I was assigned here for protection of the crowd, you don't like that we're armed, you can talk to the chief" to those people, but this was many weeks ago, at least to show how anti-gun they are.
I also got from the two officers that there was a roll call training advisory a few weeks ago department-wide. Though obviously our older officer in car #628 didn't get the memo.
I left Seattle Center, and then I got a phone call asking me to come back by some friends, so I went back.
Around 6:30, the shadowing officers had left and I was no longer being followed, and eventually I left on my own accord with my friends. Guess they didn't like the hugging and physical contact I was having with good friends (Nothing inappropriate mind you), but it's a cost of shadowing me, and I guess the higher ups said "screw this" and left. I then left with my friends.
Things are being delt with the first situation, and a little with the second situation. Needless to say, a Public Disclosure Request is being sent to Seattle PD on the subject. I want that roll call training memo.