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Thread: FOIA request denied by Fairfax PD

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    Recently, my wife and I were stopped by an officer of the FFX PD (I was issued a warrning for an improper turn, but that's neither here nor there). After being stopped, I and my wife put our hands on our heads and informed him that we had a loaded gun on the dashboard. He ran the serial #'s, issued me a warning and that was it.

    I filed a FOIA requesting three things: the incident report (I was told there isn't one), any audio/video recording of the incident, any radio chatter relating to the incident.I received this reponse today.


    "The case involved an investigation of a traffic violation, i.e. Improper Turn. Pursuant to Virginia Code Ann. Section 2.2-3706(F)(1), Law (sic) enforcement agencies may exclude the relase of complaints, memoranda, correspondence, case files or reports, witness statements and evidence relating to a criminal investigation or prosecution."

    It is signed by Ryan W. Morgan, Sergeant, inspections division of the internal affairs bureau.


    There are multiple reasons I don't think this section applies, but I'd like some input from anyone who's done this before, while I look over the law. I'll need to file a writ of mandamus to get the records.


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    Curious, why did you put your hands on your heads? Did he physically handle the weapon/remove it from the vehicle?

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    There is very unlikely to be any written incident report - especially for the investigation of a minor traffic infraction, where a summons wasn't even issued. I was surprised that there was no incident report or any other form of written notes during my unlawful detention, search, etc a couple years back. But officers can't be bothered to write reports for every citizen encounter, or that is all they would do all day long.

    That's not to say that you shouldn't be able to receive other materials. There should be a dispatch log of some sort for the stop, for example.... I was able to receive the dispatch log relating to my stop, among other materials. It was all provided very quickly, and for free. Not sure why Fairfax is being less helpful than usual in this case.... there may be a story there.

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    Interesting code section. I had no idea it existed.

    What did you hope to gain from the information you requested anyway?

    You were actually lucky that you received a warning ticket for your traffic violation.

    This is the only documentation that would have been done anyway. Running the serial number on your gun has no documentation and I doubt there would have been any radio traffic you would find interesting.

    How do you know he ran it anyway?


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    It was my understanding that in VA a minor traffic violation is not a criminal matter, but a civil matter.

    Whether it is or isn't, I'm not sure what you would do with the exact information you requested. I'm not saying I think you are wrong for requesting it; I'm saying that upon quick inspection, I can't see how one would use it,nor itsvalue.

    Its important to understand that exempting criminal investigation information is a two-edged sword. While it can be annoying when you want info on yourself, it also protects you from other people getting information pertaining to yourself. And it protects all of us from criminals evading prosecution by getting information on current investigations into themselves. Heck, if it were otherwise, a drug dealer could just whistle up any info to see if the police are even investigating him at all. I am not saying this is a properly exercised exemption in your case. I'm just giving perspective.

    Research the VAFOIA. Also you can check with the VA Coalition for Open Government and the VA FOI Commission. Both have websites.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    The cop was just fishing with the serial number thing. Did he have a reason to think that the gun was stolen? I agree that there's probably not any more documentation. The serial was run on his MDT if at all, and the citation/warning IS the incident report. Unless he decided to charge you with something not a part of the motor vehicle codes, that's all there is.

    Welcome to Terry stop land. Once you committed the improper turn, he had grounds to detain you and check the serial if he wanted.

    Like the rest, I'm curious what you're after and why. It doesn't sound like you were mistreated or had your rights violated. Did he keep the gun or something stupid like that?

    Dan

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    caltain wrote:
    SNIP 1. Welcome to Terry stop land. Once you committed the improper turn, he had grounds to detain you and check the serial if he wanted.

    2. It doesn't sound like you were mistreated or had your rights violated. Did he keep the gun or something stupid like that?

    Dan
    1. Cite, please, for the clause thatan officer has grounds to check the serial number if he wantsincircumstances similar to the OP.

    2. Itcould be counter-productive for the OP to reveal his thinking if he had his rights violated andis planning a complaint or lawsuit. Fairfax County PD monitors this website regularly.

    I recommend that if the OP wants detailed advice, he send PMs to members he trusts or consult an attorney. Rather than reveal more details of the incident here.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Citizen wrote:
    caltain wrote:
    SNIP 1. Welcome to Terry stop land. Once you committed the improper turn, he had grounds to detain you and check the serial if he wanted.

    2. It doesn't sound like you were mistreated or had your rights violated. Did he keep the gun or something stupid like that?

    Dan
    1. Cite, please, for the clause thatan officer has grounds to check the serial number if he wantsincircumstances similar to the OP.

    2. Itcould be counter-productive for the OP to reveal his thinking if he had his rights violated andis planning a complaint or lawsuit. Fairfax County PD monitors this website regularly.

    I recommend that if the OP wants detailed advice, he send PMs to members he trusts or consult an attorney. Rather than reveal more details of the incident here.
    He never mentioned ANYTHING about his rights being violated and it does not appear to be the case as this was a valid stop and the temporary removal of his firearm is permitted.

    He clearly posted "FOIA Denied" and not "Rights Violated"in the thread header. So I do not believe this is a rights matter.

    His request has already been declined and I do not foresee the officer tearing up his notes from getting a tip that someone is requesting information. I doubt the officer documented that he violated the driver's rights.If the officer was looking to "jack" him.... he would have received a real ticket.

    It seems that he was on as much of a fishing expedition as the officer.

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    Fairfax County PD monitors this website regularly.
    That is a huge understatement.

    I wonder how many other PD's/agencies monitor this site.
    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


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    LEO 229 wrote:
    He never mentioned ANYTHING about his rights being violated and it does not appear to be the case as this was a valid stop and the temporary removal of his firearm is permitted.
    Only if the officer has a reasonable beliefe that he/they were not just armed, but also "presently dangerous."

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    Mike wrote:
    LEO 229 wrote:
    He never mentioned ANYTHING about his rights being violated and it does not appear to be the case as this was a valid stop and the temporary removal of his firearm is permitted.
    Only if the officer has a reasonable beliefe that he/they were not just armed, but also "presently dangerous."
    Check out Terry v. Ohio

    http://supreme.justia.com/us/392/1/

    (d) An officer justified in believing that an individual whose suspicious behavior he is investigating at close range is armed may, to neutralize the threat of physical harm, take necessary measures to determine whether that person is carrying a weapon. P. 392 U. S. 24.


    In Terry.... it identifies that the police need to have something to believe the person is armed and then they can remove his weapon.

    But inthis case...the person is obviously armed. I don't know of any case law that the person needs to be "presently dangerous" first before you disarm them.If you are presently a danger.... your are probablypointing a gun and would be shot on the spot.

    The guy in the below video had a gun too. He was not an "immediate" danger or even a danger as the officer approached. He did not even shoot immediately as is commonplace.

    He waited a little bit and then decidedto pull his gunand use it. He was a mad man armed with a gun butthe officer had no idea he was a huge threat!!!

    What if the officer saw the gun on the dash and allowed the driverto keep it during the stop? After the guy gets all pissed that he is getting a ticket he readies his gun and shoots the cop in the face on his return.

    Or even better.... while the officer is in his car writing the ticket and about to find out the car is stolen.... the motorist runs back and shoots the cop with that same gun.

    [flash=320,256]http://www.youtube.com/v/FJRnCVbyUpU&hl=en[/flash]


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    LEO 229 wrote:
    Mike wrote:
    LEO 229 wrote:
    He never mentioned ANYTHING about his rights being violated and it does not appear to be the case as this was a valid stop and the temporary removal of his firearm is permitted.
    Only if the officer has a reasonable beliefe that he/they were not just armed, but also "presently dangerous."
    Check out Terry v. Ohio

    http://supreme.justia.com/us/392/1/

    (d) An officer justified in believing that an individual whose suspicious behavior he is investigating at close range is armed may, to neutralize the threat of physical harm, take necessary measures to determine whether that person is carrying a weapon. P. 392 U. S. 24.


    In Terry.... it identifies that the police need to have something to believe the person is armed and then they can remove his weapon.

    But inthis case...the person is obviously armed. I don't know of any case law that the person needs to be "presently dangerous" first before you disarm them.If you are presently a danger.... your are probablypointing a gun and would be shot on the spot.

    The guy in the below video had a gun too. He was not an "immediate" danger or even a danger as the officer approached. He did not even shoot immediately as is commonplace.

    He waited a little bit and then decidedto pull his gunand use it. He was a mad man armed with a gun butthe officer had no idea he was a huge threat!!!

    What if the officer saw the gun on the dash and allowed the driverto keep it during the stop? After the guy gets all pissed that he is getting a ticket he readies his gun and shoots the cop in the face on his return.

    Or even better.... while the officer is in his car writing the ticket and about to find out the car is stolen.... the motorist runs back and shoots the cop with that same gun.


    What if the officer rightly disarmed the couple and had a human conversation with them and issued the ticket/warning, then return the gun without resorting to sticking his nose where it doesn't belong by checking the serial #?
    I'm conceeding that he might have justification to disarm, esp since the OP acted strangely with his weapon, IMO.
    I can't see, in this case, why the officer NEEDS to run a check on the number. This isn't very American. Can you offer some clarification?

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    ufcfanvt wrote:
    What if the officer rightly disarmed the couple and had a human conversation with them and issued the ticket/warning, then return the gun without resorting to sticking his nose where it doesn't belong by checking the serial #?
    I'm conceeding that he might have justification to disarm, esp since the OP acted strangely with his weapon, IMO.
    I can't see, in this case, why the officer NEEDS to run a check on the number. This isn't very American. Can you offer some clarification?
    I am still waiting to here how the OP actually knows the SN was checked. I have taken guns to my car and NOT checked the SN.

    I do not think it is necessary to run itunless the guy is a known thief...

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    I don't know of any case law that the person needs to be "presently dangerous" first before you disarm them.If you are presently a danger.... your are probablypointing a gun and would be shot on the spot.
    Well, how about Terry itself?
    We merely hold today that where a police officer observes unusual conduct which leads him reasonably to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity may be afoot and that the persons with whom he is dealing may be armed and presently dangerous, where in the course of investigating this behavior he identifies himself as a policeman and makes reasonable inquiries, and where nothing in the initial stages of the encounter serves to dispel his reasonable fear for his own or others' safety, he is entitled for the protection of himself andothers in the area to conduct a carefully limited search of the outer clothing of such persons in an attempt to discover weapons which might be used to assault him.

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    apjonas wrote:
    Well, how about Terry itself?
    We merely hold today that where a police officer observes unusual conduct which leads him reasonably to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity may be afoot and that the persons with whom he is dealing may be armed and presently dangerous, where in the course of investigating this behavior he identifies himself as a policeman and makes reasonable inquiries, and where nothing in the initial stages of the encounter serves to dispel his reasonable fear for his own or others' safety, he is entitled for the protection of himself andothers in the area to conduct a carefully limited search of the outer clothing of such persons in an attempt to discover weapons which might be used to assault him.
    What exactly is your question? This is a traffic stop that deals with disarming a motorist during the stop.

    Let's shift over to a lesser known ruling... Michigan v Long where the officer can search the passenger area of the vehicle to check for weapons.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/htm...3_1032_ZS.html

    "Nor did they act unreasonably in taking preventive measures to ensure that there were no other weapons within respondent's immediate grasp before permitting him to reenter his automobile. The fact that respondent was under the officers' control during the investigative stop does not render unreasonable their belief that he could injure them."


    [line]

    If you want proof that motorists shoot cops with guns they have in their car... watch the following video.


    [flash=320,256]http://www.youtube.com/v/MEpUtoUzE4U&hl=en[/flash]


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    You were doing OK until now 229. I think the officer had the right to secure the weapon during the stop although it's a little anal considering they freely admitted to having a legally carried gun. Most crazed killers don't do that.

    I don't think he had the right to run the serial number assuming he did.

    But what does the video have to do with anything. Sure cops get shot, so do shopkeepers, housewives, cab drivers, etc.

    Playing the "It's a jungle out there" card gets a little annoying after a while.

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    peter nap wrote:
    You were doing OK until now 229. I think the officer had the right to secure the weapon during the stop although it's a little anal considering they freely admitted to having a legally carried gun. Most crazed killers don't do that.

    I don't think he had the right to run the serial number assuming he did.

    But what does the video have to do with anything. Sure cops get shot, so do shopkeepers, housewives, cab drivers, etc.

    Playing the "It's a jungle out there" card gets a little annoying after a while.
    Sorry you feel that way. I am just accustomed to having to back up anything I say here so don't hate me... hate those that demand I prove and cite everything said.

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    peter nap wrote: don't hate me... hate those that demand I prove and cite everything said.
    Hate is like diesel fuel. I don't use it unless the trip's worth it

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    peter nap wrote:
    LEO 229 wrote:
    peter nap wrote: don't hate me... hate those that demand I prove and cite everything said.
    Hate is like diesel fuel. I don't use it unless the trip's worth it
    I hear ya....

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    Sheriff wrote:
    peter nap wrote:
    I don't think he had the right to run the serial number assuming he did.
    Fishing expedition. They hope it comes back stolen.

    They do it all the time.
    No we don't

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    I don't hate you Miss CLEO . I know you have a tough job and that a high percentageof the people you deal with are people who might want to harm you, but I also don't want to see you jaded by that.

    By the way....you sure do shut down threads at the first sign of negative feedback, though, :shock:. Seems to me I remember you complaining a few times (before you were a moderator) about threads being shut down too quickly. But my memory could be wrong.

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    What did you hope to gain from the information you requested anyway?

    You were actually lucky that you received a warning ticket for your traffic violation.

    This is the only documentation that would have been done anyway. Running the serial number on your gun has no documentation and I doubt there would have been any radio traffic you would find interesting.

    How do you know he ran it anyway?

    None of my rights were violated during the stop that I know of, so I'm not looking for it for that reason. I filed the FOIA because (a) I'm curious to see how exactly things happened so that I can respond better in the future and (b) I like to have a record of these types of things. I don't need it to file a complaint or anything like that, although I may write Officer Cerna a personal letter.

    Yes, it was nice of him to give me a warning, although from my POV, I don't know what I could've done differently. Driving in Northern Virginia is tough to say the least. I'm a very conscientious driver, always use my signal, etc, but that seems to work against you with the aggressive drivers around here. That's neither here nor there. I did really appreciate him listening to my explanation and giving me a warning.

    I don't actually know he ran the serial #. I assume he did. I'm not too concerned about it.

    I'm surprised the FOIA was turned down though, especially just for a routine traffic stop. I'm still reveiwing my options to see how I can appeal the decision (writ of mandamus is the next step I believe).

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    If you want proof that motorists shoot cops with guns they have in their car... watch the following video.
    For what it's worth this is one of the reasons I decided to start carrying. Watching cop shows and seeing all the videos of them getting shot or shot at during traffic stops. I decided that if I ever came across something like this video I wanted to be able to do something. DAMN! Watching stuff like this makes me hot!

    Now, back to the debate on what a LEO should or shouldn't be allowed to do......

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    Sheriff wrote:
    sjhipple wrote:
    I don't actually know he ran the serial #. I assume he did. I'm not too concerned about it.

    I am a betting man. I am willing to bet $100 he did run the serial number.

    If I had his name... I could probably ask him.... then you could owe me $100

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    Sheriff wrote:
    sjhipple wrote:
    I don't actually know he ran the serial #. I assume he did. I'm not too concerned about it.

    I am a betting man. I am willing to bet $100 he did run the serial number.

    If I had his name... I could probably ask him.... then you could owe me $100
    Officer Cerna.

    Any idea on how these FOIA things work, LEO?

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