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Thread: Unlawfully detained at Southcenter mall

  1. #1
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    This Saturday (07/21/2007), my fiancé Taylor and I went to Tacoma to participate in a barbeque for the Pacific Northwest Open Carry group. I was wearing blue jeans and a yellow polo shirt tucked in, and a handgun in a retention holster on my belt. I was not making any attempt to conceal this handgun, as Washington is a legal open carry state. We ate and enjoyed ourselves and at about 2:00pm we decided to leave.



    On our way back to Lynnwood, we decided to stop at the Westfield Shoppingtown Southcenter mall, to do some shopping. I was still wearing the same outfit, and still open carrying, in violation of no laws. We were courteous and friendly to everyone we spoke with at the mall, and at no time did I touch or gesture toward my handgun. Unsatisfied with the mall selection, after over an hour of searching for a product, we decided to leave the same way we came, through Sears and across the drive to their parking garage. As we were walking into the parking garage, two Tukwila Police Department officers (badge numbers 160 and 168) yelled at me “Hey, stop. Put your hands behind your head”. I complied and asked what the problem was. I remained polite and professional throughout our encounter and never raised my voice. 168 said “You’re carrying a visible gun with no badge”. I told him that it was legal and within my rights. He said I had to conceal it and that I had no right to open carry.



    He asked for my concealed weapon permit. I asked him if I was being detained. He said no. I asked “Am I free to leave?” He got angry and said “NO!” I said “then am I being detained?” He said yes, I was being detained for investigation of a concealed weapons permit.



    I started to fish my permit out of my wallet, and he could plainly see it. Second thinking the actions that were being taken against me and the unconstitutionality of their actions, I returned the permit to my wallet without giving it to them and told them that I do not have to show them a permit. I was firm but polite. I let them know that I only had to show them a permit if I was concealing a gun. 160 told me that I was wrong and I had to have a permit to carry no matter what. I politely refused to show them my permit and 168 grabbed my arm, forcefully twisting it behind my back. Fearing for my safety, I said “Can I just give you my id?” 168 let go of my arm and let me get my Drivers License. They continued running my license and at this time 171 arrived. I asked if I was being detained, and he said that I was.



    At this point a mall security guard had joined in on the argument. He was reading off of the back of his permit and read “Every licensee shall have his or her concealed pistol.” This is the only point of the conversation that I said anything disrespectful. I said, “finish the sentence, *******.” This was rude of me, and the officers responded as such yelling in my face, 171 coming within a centimeter of touching noses with me. I feared again for my safety. The reason I told the security guard to finish the sentence was that the whole sentence says “Every licensee shall have his or her concealed pistol license[/b] in his or her possession at all times that he or she is required by law...” the sentence did not say that I had to conceal the pistol, as the guard had stated.



    Another security guard told me that it was illegal to carry in the mall. I told him that it may be against his mall policy, but it is not illegal. He said that the ruled was posted at all entrances to the mall. I told him that we entered through Sears, and didn’t see a sign. He confirmed that there was no sign at that entrance.



    I asked 171 if I was free to go. He said no, so I asked why. He said that I was being detained for a Tukwila law that says I can’t open carry. I told him that there was state preemption and Tukwila gun laws are not enforceable. He told me that city law supersedes state law, and the state law was invalid. I gave him RCW 9.41.290 and told him that he was mistaken. He told me that he didn’t need to look that up because it didn’t matter. I insisted that if it didn’t matter, he should just look it up. He said “Look, I don’t give a **** about that”. He then told me that normal people don’t carry guns and I was causing alarm. I said that just having a gun does not cause alarm and he told me I was wrong. He said that they had arrested someone a few months ago for the same thing and that he was able to be prosecuted. I said that I hadn’t violated any laws. And he insisted that I had. He asked why I was carrying in the mall anyway. I replied “to protect myself”. He said, “are you going to shoot someone in the mall?” I said, no I’m not going to shoot anybody, did I act like I was going to shoot somebody?” He replied “No, it’s just…” At that point I was no longer under suspicion of causing alarm, as I had not acted in a way that would make someone as rational as officer 171 think that I was a threat, therefore not causing warranted alarm.



    The police forced me to stay there as the mall security wrote up a trespass notice and took my picture. I am now trespassed from the Westfield mall. I asked throughout this process if I was free to go or if I was being detained. 171 said that I was being detained for trespass. I told him that I wasn’t trespassing, and he agreed, but said I had to wait to get my papers. Finally when the security guard finished the papers and forced me to sign them, 160 told me that I was free to go. I asked for their badge numbers.



    It is important to note that throughout this entire ordeal, from the very beginning, I asked to speak with a superior officer. They said that was fine, but never sent for one.



    I was frightened, unlawfully detained, publicly humiliated and my rights were violated.



    After this ordeal, I went to the Tukwila Police Department and spoke with an Officer E Lund, badge number 126. He was the ranking officer on the shift. He said that he supported his officers’ actions, and agreed that I had violated the law. He refused to look at the training bulletins for local police departments (Kent and Federal Way), and said that those weren’t laws and meant nothing. He said that RCW 9.41.290 did not restrict the power of the city’s laws. He said that I had violated the law and that his officers were not doing anything wrong. He said that he didn’t have time to argue about laws with me, and that if I wanted to file a complaint he’d get me the paperwork himself. Naturally, I agreed that this was a good idea. I filed a complaint with my statement and Taylor’s witness statement and told him that I was planning to open a lawsuit against the police department.



    It is important to understand that aside from my snide remark to the security guard, I kept a polite and calm composure. I never raised my voice to the officers, and was never aggressive with my arguments. The officers on the other hand caused a very public scene and literally yelled in my face and physically restrained my arm. I feared for my safety.



    It is also important that I point out that 160 was very polite and calm throughout this procedure. While he was mistaken about the laws, he was never forceful and was always patient. He tried to calm the other officers. I hold no hard feelings about this event toward officer 160. Officers 168 and 171 were physically and verbally abusive to me. 171 told me he could arrest me several times. Every time he said it, I responded with “go ahead and arrest me, I will sue your department.” I was in great fear for my safety from 171 and 168 throughout this whole ordeal.



    I will be filing a lawsuit against the Tukwila Police for unlawful imprisonment/false arrest, defamation of character, harassment, assault (against officer 168) and anything else I can think of that is misconduct related.

  2. #2
    State Researcher lockman's Avatar
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    Laws were broken here, just not by EXPVIDEO. Sic - em, and good luck!

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    I knew he wouldn't arrest me. If they were sure I was breaking a law, there wouldn't have been a 30 minute arguement, and they sure as heck would have disarmed me. Besides, when you get cops that heated, they will find something to arrest you for. I'm surprised I wasn't cuffed and taken to jail, but I guess it goes to show that I was right and they knew they were wrong.

    171 was seriously mad. He was swearing at me and practically touching noses screaming in my face. It felt great to be right. Scary, but great.

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    The fact that they insisted that you were breaking the law by your mode of carry but then did not arrest you is proof positive that not only did they know you were legal but were intimidating you.
    This is illegal in every state I've ever heard of. Not sure your WA code section.

    Make sure to drive that point in your complaint.
    Failure to arrest is proof they were abusing you through their authority.



    PS: OC'ers need to consider carrying audio recorders.
    I'm turning mine on when I leave the house and I'll erase the non-eventful recordings when I return home.

  5. #5
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    Scary, and if you haven't read my B&N thread about Fri. night, please do, but it's nowhere near as scary, and I was never touched. Besides a little mouthing off (which I understand completely) you handled yourself very well, and I can't believe you were rebuffed at the station later on to complain. Also, please get a doctor to check out your arm, what might not be hurting right now, could turn out to be a big problem later this week and you want it documented if it creeps up. Good luck, and keep the rest of us posted please.
    -Unrequited

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    Please provide an address to which I can mail you a check to help out on the consultation with an attorney.

    I Can't find Tukwila's so-called "ordinance" against open carry. I looked at the following documents and don't see anything.

    http://www.ci.tukwila.wa.us/tmc/title8.pdf
    http://www.ci.tukwila.wa.us/tmc/tmc.pdf

    Is there any other source? Perhaps the cops simply made up this "ordinance" along with all of their other B.S.

    I suggest you start out by contacting this attorney.
    http://www.washingtonceasefire.net/c...,16/Itemid,44/

  7. #7
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator Gray Peterson's Avatar
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    44Brent wrote:
    Please provide an address to which I can mail you a check to help out on the consultation with an attorney.

    I Can't find Tukwila's so-called "ordinance" against open carry. I looked at the following documents and don't see anything.

    http://www.ci.tukwila.wa.us/tmc/title8.pdf
    http://www.ci.tukwila.wa.us/tmc/tmc.pdf

    Is there any other source? Perhaps the cops simply made up this "ordinance" along with all of their other B.S.

    I suggest you start out by contacting this attorney.
    http://www.washingtonceasefire.net/c...,16/Itemid,44/
    Now we have 4 Tukwila PD officers lying. They don't even have an ordinance as they claimed.

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    Wow, what a surprising turn of events from the peaceful bbq earlier today. Hope everything goes in your favor and everything is ok with you.

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    I am very sad to hear that. While I don't expect every officer to know every aspect of the law, I would expect them to at least be able to look it up! I am just happy you didn't get arrested. Sure it would have been illegal, but it doesn't seem like you were too far off from getting a jail cell this evening.

  10. #10
    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    I was just very glad to hear that you and Taylor were okay when you were on the phone with Lonnie as a few of us gents went over to a Tacoma gun store (Shooter's something or other) and Lonnie filled us in as he got info from you.

    I think you've got a darn good case, if all I've read/heard is accurate.

    Who knows, maybe this is the kind of case (where no one was excessively hurt or went to jail) that opens up the public's eyes on OC and perhaps "slams-home" to ALL the PD's in WA that it's legal and not to screw around.

    Speaking of 'no one hurt', do take unrequited's advice and get that arm checked-out, just in case.

    Give me a call if you need anything Aaron, you've got my number.
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    Why do so many local PD's refuse to obey the preemption statutes and how can we change that?

    LoveMyCountry

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    I support open carry as can be seen here:

    http://www.washingtonceasefire.net/i...rdering=newest

    I would like to obtain a copy of the lawsuit for the purpose of publishing it. I also believe that copies of the lawsuit should be distributed to law enforcement agencies throughout the state.

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    Thank you all for being so supportive. I will be requesting the police reports, the dash cam footage (I hope I can get that, the car was pointed right at us the whole time), and the mall security report (if they'll let me have a copy, they aren't obligated to comply with my request)

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    The mall doesn't have to give you anything now, but they will be required once a lawsuit is filed.

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    Good luck with your lawsuit, I think you have a strong case. TPD was again way out of line...

  16. #16
    Regular Member GreatWhiteLlama's Avatar
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    LoveMyCountry wrote:
    Why do so many local PD's refuse to obey the preemption statutes and how can we change that?

    LoveMyCountry
    expvideo is working on having that forever rectified as we speak...
    "...our media are palace eunuchs gazing avidly at the harem of power and stroking their impotent pens in time to the rape of our liberties."
    -Sarah Hoyt

    "America is at that awkward stage; it's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."
    -Claire Wolfe

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    Regular Member Mainsail's Avatar
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    Wow, none of my detainments have approached that level of hostility. I have to ask, at what point did the police cease to be public servants? I have never understood the whole attitude of hostility we get from them.

    I hope there is a dash camera; that would cinch your case against them in my (uneducated) opinion.

    Good luck!

    EDIT: to add, Circuit City is advertising a digital voice recorder like Lonnie's in their Sunday circular.

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    With the Parker case confirming the 2nd Amendment as an individual right (and thus openly carrying falls under that right), you should also consider a federal civil rights lawsuit under the 42 USC 1982 "color of law" statute. You can name both individuals and political subdivisions.

    The FBI investigates such abuses:

    http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/civilrights/color.htm
    http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/civilrights/statutes.htm


    Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241
    Conspiracy Against Rights
    This statute makes it unlawful for two or more persons to conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person of any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).

    Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242
    Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law


    This statute makes it a crime for any person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom to willfully deprive or cause to be deprived from any person those rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the U.S.

    This law further prohibits a person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation or custom to willfully subject or cause to be subjected any person to different punishments, pains, or penalties, than those prescribed for punishment of citizens on account of such person being an alien or by reason of his/her color or race.

    Acts under "color of any law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the bounds or limits of their lawful authority, but also acts done without and beyond the bounds of their lawful authority; provided that, in order for unlawful acts of any official to be done under "color of any law," the unlawful acts must be done while such official is purporting or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. This definition includes, in addition to law enforcement officials, individuals such as Mayors, Council persons, Judges, Nursing Home Proprietors, Security Guards, etc., persons who are bound by laws, statutes ordinances, or customs.

    Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to one year, or both, and if bodily injury results or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire shall be fined or imprisoned up to ten years or both, and if death results, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.


    This is a serious business--do not let it continue without legal intervention!

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    Just a quick question. At anytime were you disarmed? And this "tresspass" notice, is it as they are going to press charges against you or you are not allowed to go to the mall ever again? If it is the later, don't worry. But technically you did not tresspass as you were never asked to leave, and even then since it is a public place it's sticky.

  20. #20
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    An unlawful detention by the officers, and a "forced" picture and signature?

    Heck no, I would not have signed anything. Let them arrest me (which they could not have done).

    Seems to me we OCers need to have our playbook down pat before OCing.

  21. #21
    Regular Member Mainsail's Avatar
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    G27 wrote:
    Just a quick question. At anytime were you disarmed? And this "tresspass" notice, is it as they are going to press charges against you or you are not allowed to go to the mall ever again? If it is the later, don't worry. But technically you did not tresspass as you were never asked to leave, and even then since it is a public place it's sticky.
    I’m not a legal expert, but I believe when they ‘trespass’ you, it’s just a written record that you have been advised not to return.

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    Sounds familiar.

    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=24&forum_id=55&jump_to=3 3005#p33005

    Was one of them B. Jordan? He's the officer who pushed me around on May 13th. I'm sorry for not fighting this fight myself. Perhaps it could have spared you that experience. My encounter at SouthCenter was my first one where I attempted to decline to provide ID, and I was overwhelmed by theofficers' reactions when I attempted to assert my right to decline an unreasonable search.When it was over I found that I hadnot donea very good job of documenting it. And because I was alone with my three kids, I could not safely risk arrest, so I was much more easily intimidated. They treated me very badly.If my testimony can help your case in any way, I'd be happy to help.

    I had a more recent encounter with threatening police behavior in Redmond, where I believe I have solid cause for action.It was on public property, so there is no interference from the property owner to muddy the waters.I am in the process of hiring a lawyer as we speak. I'll contact you off list so we can share details.

    --Sandy (WA)

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    That pretty much sucks ass.

    Silver lining...think of all the goodies you can get when you get the settlement...:celebrate

  24. #24
    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    USN_MA1 wrote:
    That pretty much sucks ass.

    Silver lining...think of all the goodies you can get when you get the settlement...:celebrate
    As much as I think a settlement would be a good idea to save Aaron the hassle of a court case, if this does get into court and a ruling is made, then we have legal precedent and the PD's all over WA will have to 'get straight' on OC. This is a chance to rectify issues with all WA PD's and no one was seriously injured or jailed... I'm not sure we could've asked for a much better "test case".
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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  25. #25
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    no one was seriously injured

    I wouldn't draw that conclusion. Any physical injuries need to be documented. Then, there's the mental and emotional factors of being assaulted by "police officers".

    BTW, expvideo, are you going to tell us where to send our donations to grease the skids for the legal expenses?

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