If someone disagreed with your local newspaper reporter about an article or story they published and then complained to the police who came into reporters office and arrested them for disorderly conduct, would that use of police power be socially acceptable? What if a voter was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct just for waiting in line to vote, or a worshipper was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct just for attempting to enter their place of worship. What if the police arrested you for disorderly conduct while you were exercising any constitutionally protected right because someone simply did not want you to exercise your rights? Would you just accept the loss of your rights? Do you understand how fragile it is to exercise your rights if someone else disapproves? Once arrested, do you think your employer or all your friends and neighbors would understand your innocence or would some of them want to maintain more distance with you? Unfortunately, being arrested is the same thing as being found guilty to many people in the court of public opinion. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has said an otherwise reasonable exercise of police power cannot be invoked in a way that "eviscerates," "destroys," "frustrates," or "nullifies" the constitutional right to bear arms. In Wisconsin, constitutional rights do not expand the police power; they restrict the police power. See Buse v. Smith, 74 Wis. 2d 550, 564, 247 N.W.2d 141 (1976); see also Robert Dowlut & Janet A. Knoop, State Constitutions and The Right to Keep and Bear Arms, 7 Okla. City U. L. Rev 177, 185 (1982) (describing the general application of this principle). So, according to the law we don't expect the police to arrest innocent people just for exercising a constitutionally protected right. That would be outrageous. But they do. Perhaps the courts will force the police all over Wisconsin to finally respect your civil rights, all of them. On August 22, Brad Krause was planting trees in his yard, at least until police stormed his residence and arrested him. It turns out they received a call from a man who said he didn't appreciate that Brad carried a gun, and wanted something done about it. The West Allis police department sent two squads to investigate, and found Brad in his yard, minding his own business planting trees. From behind him, police rushed him, yelling, "Don't move!" while bearing down on him with their weapons drawn. They shortly discovered Brad had no criminal record and was lawfully openly carrying on his own property, but instead of releasing him and returning his weapon, they tried to figure out how to arrest him. A call to the supervising lieutenant provided the answer: claim his action of carrying a weapon is disorderly conduct, and haul him down to the station. His firearm was taken away from him without a receipt, and it has not been returned. The police have effectively banned his exercise of his right by disarming him. The fact is that Wis. Stat. 941.23 does not ban or prohibit the lawful carrying of firearms by citizens. By enacting the law, the legislature intended to force citizens to openly carry their firearms while in public, which is what Mr. Krause was lawfully doing (additionally, he was on his own property). Mr. Krause is self employed as a property manager and this action by the City of West Allis has cost him long term business relationships. The police had him standing in handcuffs on his own property for 45 minutes with squad cars parked in front of his residence while they tried to figure out a way to arrest him. Fortunately, Mr. Krause had taken a friends advice and he had a voice recorder with him and the entire incident was recorded and it has been transcribed. Civil rights are very important - every one of them - which is why they are specifically protected from governmental infringements just like this. This is such an important civil rights case because it affects your rights and the rights of all Wisconsin citizens, even those who do not personally choose to exercise their right to bear arms. I am asking for your generous financial help to fight this unconstitutional use of police power. It will require a lot of money if this case is appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Every cent you send is appreciated and every dollar received will go to defray legal expenses (this is not a tax deductible contribution). You can donate through PayPal using the "donate" button or if you prefer, a check can be sent payable to Gene German, % Wisconsin Patriots, P. O. Box 202, Excelsior, MN 55331.
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