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Thread: Unlawful Detention by Mercer Island Police

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    Regular Member Washintonian_For_Liberty's Avatar
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    So, I went to Mercerdale Park with my daughter this evening and had a fairly uneventful time. My daughter played on the playground with several kids as I chatted with their parents. Both sets of parents didn't mind at all that I was open carrying and even commented that it was a wonderful thing for people to carry openly as it was a great deterrent for the lowlifes that usually come around and sit on the children's playground toys and houses.

    Well, after two uneventful hours at the park, I was wrapping up and getting ready to head back to my home when three police showed up. Two in one parking lot to the south of the park and one, who drove his SUV right out on to the grass right close to me.

    The first two come up to me and the bald very tan tattooed officer asked me if I had a weapon. The younger of the two stayed silent.

    I answered that I did on my right hip.

    He requested that I turn towards him to show him.

    I pivoted to my left slightly with my arms crossed on my chest so as to not warrant alarm.

    At this point, the third officer, Sgt. Noelshowed up and asked to see my ID.

    This is when I asked if I was being detained.

    The first officer stated that I was.

    As I handed my ID to Sgt. Noel, I asked why I was being detained.

    This garnered a dirty look from all three police with Sgt. Noel responding "Because you are an unknown man with a gun who is a danger to everyone in the park."

    I answered "What I am doing here is perfectly legal."

    The Sgt replied "No it is not! In Mercer Island, you are not allowed to carry a weapon in the open!"

    The first officer who spoke to me (who had an exotic name I cannot remember), said to my side that only conceal carry with a license was legal and I was breaking the law. He then said from behind me "Sit down on the ground."

    So as to not cause my three year old daughter to panic if the police decided to jump me if I did not comply, I complied. The officer behind me then told me he was going to hand cuff me.

    I asked him if I was under arrest.

    Sgt Noel said "You are only being detained. We are hand cuffing you for officer safety. We can do this. We can do anything we want as long as we deem it necessary to officer safety."

    I repeated "Am I under arrest? And if I am, what is the charge?"

    The Sgt replied "You're not allowed to carry your gun like that, so we're going to look at the signs to see if it is prohibited here in the park, and if it is, you are going to have some serious trouble!"

    I then indicated to the OCDO pamphlet I had right on the ground on top of my wallet that all pertinent RCWs pertaining to open carry and State preemption of local ordinances that fall outside the allowable laws would be right there...

    The Sgt said "I have no intention of looking at that.. I don't care what the hell it says."

    So then, the Sgt and the younger officer who had just returned from walking around the park reading the signs, walked over to the SUV stillparked on the grass not 15 feet from me and the big officer who cuffed me.

    The big officer behind me then said "Are you trying to make a point? We could arrest you for brandishing a weapon and then where would your daughter be?"

    I replied "Officer, while you may feel your concern is warranted, I have not brandished my weapon as that would require me holding it in my hand."

    To which he replied "Oh yes you did... and everyone in the park saw it."

    "Yeah, but I was not brandishing it and what I am doing is perfectly legal under Washington State law."

    After sitting on the ground for what seemed another ten minutes, the Sgt and the young officer came back over and said "Well we got nothin!"

    The officer standing behind me asked "So, can we arrest him?"

    To which the Sgt replied "We have nothing now. You have to let him go."

    The officer behind me then asked "Can I take his weapon and impound it?"

    The Sgt replied "No, we can't take his weapon, but take out the magazine and the gun before you take off the cuffs... officer safety you know" he finished saying while looking sternly at me.

    After the cuffs were off, the Sgt looked at me and said "Do you know you just wasted all of our time?"

    To which I replied "Well, you didn't need to waste your time. You could have just read this pamphlet or called dispatch to look up the law and find that I am well within my rights."

    Sgt Noel replied "I don't care what the law says! Every time we see you out here, we're going to come over and detain you in hand cuffs. Do you really want this kind of trouble?"

    I replied "I hope you realize that I will be suing the Mercer Island Police Department for unlawful detainment and harassment."

    The officer behind me said "Yeah, I understand, but if you just get a conceal carry permit, no one would know you were armed and we wouldn't care."

    Sgt Noel continued the train of thought by saying... it costs 50 bucks to get a conceal carry license. That's what we all do and we carry a weapon for a living. Like I said, I don't care what the law is. If you do this again. We will come in force and detain you in hand cuffs every single time... so for your sake, get the conceal carry license, conceal your weaponand you won't be bothered again.

    And with that, they left me with my empty gun, my empty magazine and a handful of bullets. I never gave them permission to take my gun or take the magazine out or dry fire it into the ground... they totally violated me... put the cuffs of extra tight and berated and threatened me with harassment every time they see me.

    So as it turns out, the Mercer Island police are not enlightened after all.

    Suggestions? I'm pretty pissed. I was totally calm and polite, but these guys were rude and in my face and continuously threatened me with constant detainment.
    Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. ~ George Washington

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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    Dude, WTF?!? :what: I can't beleive a law enforcement officer would have the gall to say "I don't care what the law says!" I think you said it best yourself, get a good lawyer & sue the city. Maybe invite him to the same park to go over the paperwork while you're (of course) OCing, see if these officers are foolish enough to try that routine right in front of him as well.
    It is very wise to not take a watermelon lightly.

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    My suggestions are: get a lawyer and sue. This goes beyond ********, as you *were* detained and deprived of your rights and property for the time of the unlawful detention. Plus, the officers have acted under color of law to attempt a further restriction upon your rights by saying you will be again detained for doing a legal activity.

    I think I might have to make a solo trip over there tomorrow. How are the jogging trails there? I might need to take a few hours to enjoy the nice weather we've been having, and downtown park is getting a little same-old same-old.
    "If we were to ever consider citizenship as the least bit matter of merit instead of birthright, imagine who should be selected as deserved representation of our democracy: someone who would risk their daily livelihood to cast an individually statistically insignificant vote, or those who wrap themselves in the flag against slightest slights." - agenthex

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    This makes me sad.

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    Regular Member swatspyder's Avatar
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    Pick up a good lawyer and let them know exactly what happened. I am sure they will want this case!

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    Regular Member Washintonian_For_Liberty's Avatar
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    Jogging trails are nice, and Mercerdale park (where I was detained) has a circular paved jogging track.

    I was thinking we need to have a picnic here on Mercer Island at Luther Burbank Park where they have barbecue pits perfect for great cook outs.

    Lets get everyone on board for this one.

    And, anyone got the number to a good lawyer? I was thinking of the NRA since they say, if you've had your rights violated, they'll defend you no charge... but for lawsuits... I'm not sure. I'll be calling them first thing tomorrow to find out for sure.
    Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. ~ George Washington

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    Sorry to hear about the detention in front of your young daughter.

    Write down everything that happened.I am sure that if you go through it again in your mind, more will come back to you. Don't worry about getting the sequence right just yet. Justjot down the details as they come back to you. Youcan assemble them in order after you have them all down. I recommend this because I thinkas you remember, you will discover other little bits popping up thatalign and put other pieces into perspective. And some of those littlebits will reinforce your complaintor close the door to police evasions. Trustme on this for the moment. I have a lot of practice on this forum looking at illegal detentions. A little fact here or a little fact there will confirm or dispel a conclusion, or close the door to police taking acertainevasive stance.

    Decide whether you want to sue. Talk to an attorney if you need to. I kinda suspect this is one of those situations where you might only recover the legal fees you put into it, but I am not an attorney.

    You might also consider having an attorney send your formal complaint. Maybe to cut down on the fees you can draft it, and he can convert it into aletter.

    If Washington has a sunshine law I would suggest immediately sending a Freedom of Information request for the 911 call recordings and radio traffic recordings. Include in-car text messages from the police cars, dash-cam recordings, and especially any reports written after the incident.

    At a minimum I would send a hard-hitting formal complaint that addressed every unlawful and inappropriate aspect of their behavior. It should include what you want done about it.

    I would especially nail the point about scaring your young daughter, if she was.

    This is just another example of4th Amendment violation. Complete with LEO admission that "he doesn't care what the law says."

    You are out of their hands. Now its your turn.
    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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    Regular Member Washintonian_For_Liberty's Avatar
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    I sure wish I had brought my voice recorder... but I do have a witness who I got the number from and he told me he would testify for me if I wanted... in fact, it was funny, afterwards, people came up to me asking me if I was ok, and when I told them that I had my rights violated and was threatened... they looked shocked... none of these people knew me personally, yet all seemed genuinely concerned over the behavior of the police.

    In fact, the witness said the young cop went around the park reading the signs and asking every person if they were the one who called... the person who called was not there.

    The last person who came up to me told me that I was rude for carrying my weapon and that he hoped that I had learned my lesson... I replied that I had learned that the police can be thugs on Mercer Island too, to which he said "Buddy... you're just an *******... and quickly walked away... the two people who were talking with me looked back at me with raised eyebrows and commented on what a jerk that guy was... I guess it takes all kinds of people.
    Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. ~ George Washington

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    Second Amendment Foundation is based right here in Bellevue. If I recall correctly, they maintain a list of lawyers that can help you.
    "If we were to ever consider citizenship as the least bit matter of merit instead of birthright, imagine who should be selected as deserved representation of our democracy: someone who would risk their daily livelihood to cast an individually statistically insignificant vote, or those who wrap themselves in the flag against slightest slights." - agenthex

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    Washintonian_For_Liberty wrote:
    SNIP I sure wish I had brought my voice recorder... but I do have a witness who I got the number from and he told me he would testify for me if I wanted...
    Its great that you had supportive witnesses. I'm betting Mr. Grumpy was the complaintant.

    Lesson learned. Always carry the voice-recorder. This is for other readers since Iknow you've probably already made that decision this evening.

    Wehave quite a few detentions and contacts where the OPerwrote, "I wish I had a voice-recorder."

    I cannotrecall anyone saying even once, "Boy, I'm glad I leftmy voice-recorderat home."

    I put mine in my pocket as part of putting on my holster. Just make it part of your carry gear just like a spare magazine.
    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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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    This is why voice recorders are FTW...

    "I don't care what the law says!"

    "Excuse me officer, could you say that again? Only, speak clearly and in the direction of my shirt pocket. I want to be extra sure the court enjoys the recording quality of you losing my lawsuit before it's even been filed."

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    Regular Member Washintonian_For_Liberty's Avatar
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    You know what is nuts about this whole thing. I've checked the signs at the park and they are in line with State law and mention nothing about firearms.

    Sgt Noelalso said"This is Mercer Island and a man with a gun is not normal. It is unusual and strange and we don't like unusual and strange. So we will respond to every call just like we're responding to this situation with you here today. You're really wasting our time and for what? So you can just try and prove a point? Are you just trying to show people you have a right? Because that can be construed as flaunting your weapon in front of these poor people and that IS a crime we can arrest you for!"

    Hestated very clearly to me that he did not care what Washington State law says my rights are... that the Mercer Island Police Department will handle every call about me exactly this same way.

    One of them also saidthat they might even arrest me for disturbing the peace if I did it again and all they needed was one complaint from someone saying I was alarming them.
    Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. ~ George Washington

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    Regular Member Washintonian_For_Liberty's Avatar
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    I don't know if this means anything, but I asked Sgt Noel and the muscled tattooed officer both for their card and they both ignored me. Sgt Noel looked at me after I asked him for his card and I could see the scorn in his eyes.... he just walked away and neither gave me a card. I thought that the police had to give you their name card by law?? Anyway, asking twice and twice being completely ignored was very odd... I've asked police for their cards before and they always gave one to me... of course, I was not packing at the time.
    Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. ~ George Washington

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    Go to the police department tomorrow. Fill out a request for public information. That will give you the full names of all responding officers, and, potentially, the name and phone number of the person who made the 911 call. At court, this information can be used by your lawyer, as the person can be called to stand witness.
    "If we were to ever consider citizenship as the least bit matter of merit instead of birthright, imagine who should be selected as deserved representation of our democracy: someone who would risk their daily livelihood to cast an individually statistically insignificant vote, or those who wrap themselves in the flag against slightest slights." - agenthex

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    Well this sucks. Formal complaint, etc... Get a high ranking officer there and show them the King County Sheriff training bulletin. Then try to get some answers out of them.

    If all else fails, 20-30 OC'rs having a picnic would be a good thing.

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    Washintonian_For_Liberty wrote:
    I don't know if this means anything, but I asked Sgt Noel and the muscled tattooed officer both for their card and they both ignored me. Sgt Noel looked at me after I asked him for his card and I could see the scorn in his eyes.... he just walked away and neither gave me a card. I thought that the police had to give you their name card by law?? Anyway, asking twice and twice being completely ignored was very odd... I've asked police for their cards before and they always gave one to me... of course, I was not packing at the time.
    They just have to identify themselves, no requirement to give a card.

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    Regular Member Washintonian_For_Liberty's Avatar
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    sv_libertarian wrote:
    Washintonian_For_Liberty wrote:
    I don't know if this means anything, but I asked Sgt Noel and the muscled tattooed officer both for their card and they both ignored me. Sgt Noel looked at me after I asked him for his card and I could see the scorn in his eyes.... he just walked away and neither gave me a card. I thought that the police had to give you their name card by law?? Anyway, asking twice and twice being completely ignored was very odd... I've asked police for their cards before and they always gave one to me... of course, I was not packing at the time.
    They just have to identify themselves, no requirement to give a card.
    Ah, thanks for the clarification.

    So I was thinking... anyone planning on attending any 4th of July Tea Party Protests? Because I'm going to try and get as many people to come to Mercer Island next Saturday to Mercerdale Park and for a nice protest speech on Liberty and the sanctity of our Constitutional rights.

    I'm putting out a quick call to all my buds in the Campaign for Liberty... if anyone knows any people that would like to speak on Sat for an impromptu gathering... that would be great.
    Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. ~ George Washington

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    Hmmm it seems the officers you encountered may not have taken the time to read the Mercer Island Police Department webpage.
    http://www.mercergov.org/SectionIndex.asp?SectionID=84

    The Mercer Island Police Department strives to provide a full range of police services while respecting individual rights and freedoms.

    We are professional, compassionate, highly-trained, technologically-advanced, and provide services that meet or exceed the expectations of our community.


    Just curious, why bother having a speaker at a picnic? For one thing cops won't care, and you'll be preaching to the choir, and the likelyhood of finding someone who won't be written off as a fringe kook is slim IMHO. Plus it could be portrayed as rabble rousing by the highly trained and professional MIPD. Also you run the risk of limiting your potential audience by bringing in a speaker unless most everyone agrees with the person. Honestly I would be inclined not to come to a function organized by you with a speaker. We've clashed enough on politics so there is no need to go further, but I know I'm not the only one here who would get turned off by a politicized OC picnic. Just some thoughts.


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    Hmmm MIPD Chief Holmes seems to have the right idea in his message on the MIPD website...:P
    http://www.mercergov.org/Page.asp?NavID=2116


    Mercer Island does have one of the lowest crime rates in our area, however, as citizens you should take all the necessary precautions to protect your family and your property.

    I urge each of you to take those steps necessary to secure your home and property. Prepare your family to survive on their own for at least the first 72 hours following a large scale disaster or emergency.


    Interesting his picture does not show him in uniform. Must not be proud of it.

    Here is his phone number in case anyone feels the need to call him.
    206 275-7911

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    Regular Member Washintonian_For_Liberty's Avatar
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    sv_libertarian wrote:
    Hmmm it seems the officers you encountered may not have taken the time to read the Mercer Island Police Department webpage.
    http://www.mercergov.org/SectionIndex.asp?SectionID=84

    The Mercer Island Police Department strives to provide a full range of police services while respecting individual rights and freedoms.

    We are professional, compassionate, highly-trained, technologically-advanced, and provide services that meet or exceed the expectations of our community.


    Just curious, why bother having a speaker at a picnic? For one thing cops won't care, and you'll be preaching to the choir, and the likelyhood of finding someone who won't be written off as a fringe kook is slim IMHO. Plus it could be portrayed as rabble rousing by the highly trained and professional MIPD. Also you run the risk of limiting your potential audience by bringing in a speaker unless most everyone agrees with the person. Honestly I would be inclined not to come to a function organized by you with a speaker. We've clashed enough on politics so there is no need to go further, but I know I'm not the only one here who would get turned off by a politicized OC picnic. Just some thoughts.
    You misunderstand... the OC picnic would not happen in five days.... that would just be a Tea Party/Liberty Protest...

    The Picnic would take longer to plan and would only be a picnic... food, pop, light chat about the weather and your favorite gun... but no politics.

    I figured that people wouldn't have time to get ready for a 4th of July picnic at such short notice since they may have other plans... but a Liberty/Tea Party style protest gathering on Independence Day talking about Liberty and Freedom and our Constitutional rights would be appropriate for what the day stands for.
    Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. ~ George Washington

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    City of Mercer Island Code for assemblies in parks. If you bring a formal speaker along, they may try to pull this on you.

    9.30.220 the director is ordered to establish forthwith such rules and regulations pertaining to the issuance of assembly permits as shall permit the fullest peaceful utilization of the parks by all the general public including such persons attending such assemblies and such other persons utilizing the park, but not in attendance at such assembly as shall be reasonably possible and consistent with the health, safety and general welfare. In this connection, and in addition to the conduct requirements of this chapter, such rules and regulations may require the deposit of “cleanup” undertakings, the furnishing of waste and sanitary conveniences and effective plans for traffic and crowd control and management. (Ord. A-91 § 1, 1991).



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    Washintonian_For_Liberty wrote:
    You misunderstand... the OC picnic would not happen in five days.... that would just be a Tea Party/Liberty Protest...

    The Picnic would take longer to plan and would only be a picnic... food, pop, light chat about the weather and your favorite gun... but no politics.

    I figured that people wouldn't have time to get ready for a 4th of July picnic at such short notice since they may have other plans... but a Liberty/Tea Party style protest gathering on Independence Day talking about Liberty and Freedom and our Constitutional rights would be appropriate for what the day stands for.
    There is one going down at the Capitol Campus in Olympia on the 4th.

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    Regular Member Washintonian_For_Liberty's Avatar
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    sv_libertarian wrote:
    City of Mercer Island Code for assemblies in parks. If you bring a formal speaker along, they may try to pull this on you.

    9.30.220 the director is ordered to establish forthwith such rules and regulations pertaining to the issuance of assembly permits as shall permit the fullest peaceful utilization of the parks by all the general public including such persons attending such assemblies and such other persons utilizing the park, but not in attendance at such assembly as shall be reasonably possible and consistent with the health, safety and general welfare. In this connection, and in addition to the conduct requirements of this chapter, such rules and regulations may require the deposit of “cleanup” undertakings, the furnishing of waste and sanitary conveniences and effective plans for traffic and crowd control and management. (Ord. A-91 § 1, 1991).

    Yeah I saw that... the Campaign for Liberty may have the funds to make that possible... and if we apply, and pay the clean up fee... I believe they cannot refuse since it is a matter of Free Speech and Freedom of Assembly.
    Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. ~ George Washington

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    I'm guessing a simple picnic won't be an issue.


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    I am really sorry to hear about this event, absolutely shameful disgrace to the LEO community. These officers should be released fromduty (fired)and made to serve some community service.

    Yeah, i am totally in favor of a picnic there, if they stormed it, might be cause for a civil suit as a group... I kinda agree about no speaker, might be awkward, but a good old fashioned picknick, cool.


    -- Something really needs to be done about the rogue cops -- they are not LEOs. Maybe the state should be sued to pay for each and every officer to take a "sensitivity class" ... lol ... yummm... But seriously, i have encountered a few zealous officers that were way way way out of line for the situation, and i wasnt even OC. The courts need to start to treat officers as "human" too, with stout consequences for overstepping or breaching peoples rights and liberties. They are not, or should not be above reproach, or above the law. a good LEO balances the spirit of the law with the letter of thelaw, and remembers that he represents his community and his office's imagewith his individual actions.A LEO in and of him/herself is not the law, but supposed to be a courier ofthe law... i am usually very pro-LEO .. but i absolutely think they should beheld to an extreme amount of accountability.



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