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Thread: Norfolk City Council Aftermath

  1. #1
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    MORE STORIES:

    1. http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=131335&ran=238394



    The first story. http://www.wvec.com/news/topstories/....7d4a08bb.html



    Gun rights group defends man's right to carry weapon


    10:16 PM EDT on Tuesday, August 28, 2007







    Reported by: Shannon Sims



    Members from the Virginia Citizens Defense League took aim at City Council over a man’s arrest for carrying a gun at this summer’s Harborfest.

    The group says Chet Szmecki’s constitutional rights were violated, even though the charges against him were dropped.

    His wife says the ordeal was a nightmare.

    “The humiliation and the terror my children felt they walked us out the park,” recalled Debra Szymecki.

    “My children were panicking watching their law abiding father be stripped of his dignity while their mother was being told to be quiet or she too would be arrested if she did not comply,” recalled her husband.

    Verbal bullets flew from the City Council podium as Virginia Citizen Defense League members spoke out against the alleged harassment by Norfolk Police officers.

    ”Get your police dept under control,” said one angry citizen. “Do not be arresting law abiding citizens “

    Virginians have the right to bear arms openly without a permit. However, the city passed an ordinance days before Harborfest prohibiting guns in Town Point Park.

    The gun watchdog group says that was unconstitutional.

    Dan Moore says, as a black man wearing a gun in public, he is always harassed by police. He claims he was waiting for a friend on Main Street when an officer approached him.

    “It’s weird,” said Moore. “I am just standing there. Next thing I know handcuffs in the back of the car like I am a criminal “

    City Council would not comment. The group says they will continue to speak out for their Second Amendment right.


    --------------



    Thanks for everyone who showed up and gave support. Some vids to come.

    -----

    After reading the article again, I noticed that Chet's last name is spelled wrong, as is his wife's.



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    Were any members of VCDL or here taking video that you noticed? I'd love to watch it on youtube when it's all said and done uploading.
    -Unrequited

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    Danbus,



    I read that you were going to VB to open carry with your BMWAG hat and a sign "Yes it is legal!"

    Did you attend the Norfolk meeting and can you give an eyewitness report?

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    Campaign Veteran Dutch Uncle's Avatar
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    One of the more poignant moments came after the meeting when a local woman (who had spoken before the VCDL folks about police harrassment of her young son), said she was now more hopeful that something was finally going to be done about the "out-of-control" Norfolk Police. She said to me "I'm sorry to say, I think it took another race to come here and complain" for all the complaints to be taken seriously. I told her there were people in our group from all over the state, and that when some of our own are harrassed, we don't sit still for it. She seemed encouraged that we are going to continue to foloow up on the issue. Phil, Dan, Brian, Chet and Debbie Sczymecki all gave very good presentations, as did Ron Lilly and a gentleman from NoVA, who is former LEO. He really reamed the mayor, city att'y and city council for their misfeasance and malfeasance. We did some networking with some of the locals who spoke out about the Norfolk Police, and Dan handed out some VCDL and gun rights literature. We may have some new posters here soon.

    All in all a very intersting and productive evening, which was then capped by some "fellowshipping" at Hooters. One of the waitresses talked to us, then showed us a picture of herself shooting a rifle. I imagine Brian will have the "group photo" up before long.

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    I'm sorry to say, but I decided against the sign at the last minute seeing that the flyers that I was handing out already said "Yes, it's legal". Felt kinda silly to me.

    I also have a few vids coming about a 1 min interview with Wakenhut's finest about the open carry laws in Virginia and 2 vids in which I spoke with 2 people about what happened to me and the open carry laws.

    ------

    Ok here is the vid of me talking to the Wakennut security guard.

    http://myspacetv.com/index.cfm?fusea...deoid=16943924


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    Dutch Uncle wrote:
    ...and a gentleman from NoVA, who is former LEO. He really reamed the mayor, city att'y and city council for their misfeasance and malfeasance.
    That was Dave Vann, I believe.

    Dutch Uncle wrote:
    All in all a very intersting and productive evening, which was then capped by some "fellowshipping" at Hooters.
    I wish I could have stuck around, but the wifey was waiting on me.

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    Campaign Veteran Dutch Uncle's Avatar
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    A few more observations before I sign off for the night: I had always had the impression most blacks in urban communities were "anti-gun", and who knows, perhaps some of the local speakers were. In any event, as the meeting unfolded and it became clear that we had all suffered similar indignities at the hands of the Norfolk Police, there was a definite connection between us, and some spontaneous applause of support for the VCDL speakers and their positions. Also, I think a lot of us realized from the locals' stories that the problems with their police are endemic and of long standing. I said to Dan it might be interesting to see what effect it would have on gang presence if some of the local men and women start carrying in their day-to-day lives. Predators don't like armed communities. It could have a more practical effect than marches and prayer vigils.....

    Finally, it was really impressive and effective when Phil asked all those who were there with VCDL to stand up. About 3/4 of the crowd did so. I think the estimate was about a hundred from VCDL. That visual was not lost on the mayor and city council.:shock:

    The Norfolk chapter isn't over yet. Stay tuned.....

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    Time for some pics.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Just got back home to Northern VA from my trip to Norfolk....

    Wow!

    What a great night. I concur with everything said above. It was painfully obvious that the PD has a history violating citizen's civil rights. The extent to which these abuses are occurring down there far exceed what I had originally thought.

    Hearing the story from Chet and his wife first hand did not do the email alerts or posts here any justice. Hearing it live and first hand really gave me a broader and more in-depth view of the circumstances surrounding the incident.

    Chet, Debra...I had a chance to meet you both. I am extremely thankful for the sacrifices you and your family have and are going through to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else.

    Speakers were all great...I don't remember all of them...

    Sorry I couldn't stick around afterwards for food, but I had to get the son back home. It was a pleasure finally meeting several of you...

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    danbus wrote:
    more
    ...it all makes sense why you're so harrassed down there, nobody likes a handsome man with a smile. > )

    Glad to hear things went well.
    -Unrequited

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    Was the City Attorney present? The Police Chief? Any police officers?

    Did anyone from the council make any comment?

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    SicSemperTyrannis wrote:
    Was the City Attorney present? The Police Chief? Any police officers?

    Did anyone from the council make any comment?
    The city attorney was present, missing in action was the police chief, but there was 1 officer present. When the regular agenda was over and people got to speak Mr. Riddick left. In the paper it says he was protesting our protest. Well that seems to me that Riddick does not care about the citizens of Norfolk. IMHOevery council membershouldlisten to the citizens whether he believes in that persons cause or not. He just snubbed the citizens of Norfolk. But then again he has been in trouble himself and should not be on the council anyway.

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    danbus wrote:
    MORE STORIES:

    1. http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=131335&ran=238394



    The first story. http://www.wvec.com/news/topstories/....7d4a08bb.html



    Gun rights group defends man's right to carry weapon


    10:16 PM EDT on Tuesday, August 28, 2007







    Reported by: Shannon Sims



    Members from the Virginia Citizens Defense League took aim at City Council over a man’s arrest for carrying a gun at this summer’s Harborfest.

    The group says Chet Szmecki’s constitutional rights were violated, even though the charges against him were dropped.

    His wife says the ordeal was a nightmare.

    “The humiliation and the terror my children felt they walked us out the park,” recalled Debra Szymecki.

    “My children were panicking watching their law abiding father be stripped of his dignity while their mother was being told to be quiet or she too would be arrested if she did not comply,” recalled her husband.

    Verbal bullets flew from the City Council podium as Virginia Citizen Defense League members spoke out against the alleged harassment by Norfolk Police officers.

    ”Get your police dept under control,” said one angry citizen. “Do not be arresting law abiding citizens “

    Virginians have the right to bear arms openly without a permit. However, the city passed an ordinance days before Harborfest prohibiting guns in Town Point Park.

    The gun watchdog group says that was unconstitutional.

    Dan Moore says, as a black man wearing a gun in public, he is always harassed by police. He claims he was waiting for a friend on Main Street when an officer approached him.

    “It’s weird,” said Moore. “I am just standing there. Next thing I know handcuffs in the back of the car like I am a criminal “

    City Council would not comment. The group says they will continue to speak out for their Second Amendment right.


    --------------



    Thanks for everyone who showed up and gave support. Some vids to come.

    -----

    After reading the article again, I noticed that Chet's last name is spelled wrong, as is his wife's.



    "The group says Chet Szmecki’s constitutional rights were violated, even though the charges against him were dropped. "


    That is such a bone-headed statement. I'm really going to need some duct-tape if I keep reading these articles. So, let me get this straight... you are illegally arrested, manhandled, and thrown in jail, yet it's all ok because the charges were dropped?!? Dropping the charges doesn't magically make it constituitional.

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    Dutch Uncle wrote:
    We may have some new posters here soon.

    All in all a very intersting and productive evening, which was then capped by some "fellowshipping" at Hooters. One of the waitresses talked to us, then showed us a picture of herself shooting a rifle. I imagine Brian will have the "group photo" up before long.

    New Poster here! Last night's meeting was an eye-opener for me. Between the heartbreaking emotions from the Norfolk locals complaining about the PD harrassment of their children, the eloquence of the VCDL membership, and the obvious and complete distain for the citizenry displayed by the City Council, I was totally appalled. Last night converted me from an opinionated citizen, to an activist. Regardless of the fact that I live in a neighboring city, I will do everything in my power to ensure that the Norfolk City Council is totally replaced at the next election.

    I also think that while, I do carry concealed most of the time, whenever I am in Norfolk, I will open carry just to aggravate the PD. These losers have got to go

    Larry Korn


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    NRA_Bear wrote:
    "The group says Chet Szmecki’s constitutional rights were violated, even though the charges against him were dropped. "


    That is such a bone-headed statement. I'm really going to need some duct-tape if I keep reading these articles. So, let me get this straight... you are illegally arrested, manhandled, and thrown in jail, yet it's all ok because the charges were dropped?!? Dropping the charges doesn't magically make it constituitional.
    Hopefully Chet's lawsuit and an angry populace will teach those clowns a lesson.

  18. #18
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    Penturner,
    It was nice to meet you at the 5 PM dinner, and I welcome you to the board. I recall your saying you went to the OCDO site occasionally, but I hope you'll keep in touch regularly now. The Norfolk thing ain't over yet and we can use all the re-inforcements we can get!

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    http://media.hamptonroads.com/media/...unmeeting.html

    class="verdanasmall" By HARRY MINIUM, The Virginian-Pilot
    © August 29, 2007

    class="arialbody" NORFOLK
    More than 100 gun-rights advocates, most carrying handguns on their hips and wearing buttons saying "Guns Save Lives," came to the City Council on Tuesday night to protest what they called harassment of law-abiding gun owners by city officials.
    The protest was called by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun-rights group, after Chet Szymecki of Yorktown was arrested in June at Harborfest for carrying a gun.
    Szymecki was arrested for violating a city ordinance banning guns at Harborfest - an ordinance that officials now acknowledge violates state law. City Attorney Bernard A. Pishko said city officials were unaware of a state law prohibiting localities from banning guns.
    Carrying a weapon openly is legal in Virginia, even at a large gathering such as Harborfest. Once city officials realized their error, the charges against Szymecki were dropped.
    "We made a mistake," Councilman Barclay C. Winn said. "It was unintentional."
    Most who came to protest didn't appear to believe it was an innocent mistake.
    "You know it was illegal," said Dave Vann, who drove from Falls Church to speak. "You arrested someone, and now it's going to cost you dearly."
    Szymecki, a Navy veteran, said he was manhandled and hurt and that his wife, Deborah, his three children and two other children who accompanied them were traumatized. He said he has hired Norfolk attorney Stephen Merrill.
    An emotional Deborah Szymecki told the council that after several police officers were done handcuffing her husband, she was left without money or the keys to the family car.
    Others rose to describe incidents in which they said they were questioned and often handcuffed by police for simply carrying a firearm openly.
    "Apparently you have some officers who don't understand the law," said the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Philip Van Cleave of Midlothian.
    The meeting drew more rowdy as it continued, with speakers receiving thunderous applause and some expressing disgust for the council. Some used unsavory terms to describe the police.
    Councilman Paul R. Riddick left the meeting as gun-rights advocates began speaking, he said, in protest of their protest.
    Kim Barton, who would not say where she lives, tried to speak but was told by Mayor Paul Fraim that she couldn't because she had not signed up to speak.
    "I want to hear what she has to say," Vann said.
    Fraim replied, "I'm running this meeting " and informed Vann his time to speak had expired.
    Harry Minium, (757) 446-2371, harry.minium@pilotonline.com


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    Minium's article was pretty factual, but I take some issue with his comment about the meeting becoming "more rowdy as it continued". Although spirited, none of the participants were "rowdy" in the sense of being excessively boisterous or disruptive. Ms Barton's attempt to speak despite not having signed up was officially out of order, but certainly nothing got to the point where any intervention was needed.

    I believe the only person whose behavior was truly reprehensible was Mr. Riddick, who, with childish petulence, left the meeting without hearing the complaints of his own citizens or those of VCDL in order to "protest the protest". He can't take the heat, so I hope the citizens take him out of the kitchen in the next election!



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    Dutch Uncle wrote:
    I believe the only person whose behavior was truly reprehensible was Mr. Riddick, who, with childish petulence, left the meeting without hearing the complaints of his own citizens or those of VCDL in order to "protest the protest". He can't take the heat, so I hope the citizens take him out of the kitchen in the next election!
    I agree. Riddick is a weak reed. Give the guy a little power and he gets so big-headed he won't tolerate anyone else's point of view. He would censor or cancel the city councilmeeting if he could. But he can't. So he flees--because he simply cannot take it. Weak. Very weak.

    Censorious persons, when they do not have the power to censor based opon their whim, always leave. They lack the character and fairness to let the other side have their say.

    Riddick should be kicked from office immediately.


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    Founder's Club Member Tess's Avatar
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    The group says Chet Szmecki’s constitutional rights were violated, even though the charges against him were dropped. "


    So, how do they not see a difference between violating constitutional rights and having charges brought? Two different issues.

    Does someone need 9th grade Civics class again?
    Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population. -Albert Einstein

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    Tess wrote:


    Does someone need 9th grade Civics class again?
    Last I checked they don't teach civics in "pUbl1k skooLz" anymore

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    Don't forget, those of you who missed it, the meeting is being broadcast online at http://www.norfolk.gov/tv48/norfolk.asx

    I tuned in a second ago and actually saw video from last night..........now its playing some opera music and showing wierd stuff............very interesting..........maybe they don't broadcast the public speakers.

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    Here's the hooters photo. Turned out pretty well I think.



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