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Thread: ACLU of Colorado takes on Loveland, CO police for harassing open carrier at North Lake Park

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    http://www.reporterherald.com/news_story.asp?ID=23999

    Loveland police accused of violating rights of man with holstered pistol at lake
    By Jon Pilsner
    Loveland Reporter-Herald

    The American Civil Liberties Union has sent a letter to the Loveland
    Police Department alleging that officers illegally searched and
    briefly detained a man carrying a gun at North Lake Park.

    On Thursday, the ACLU sent a formal complaint to Loveland Police Chief
    Luke Hecker and 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office chief
    investigator Elliot Phelps.

    The organization is questioning the way police dealt with Loveland
    resident Bill Miller at North Lake Park on Oct. 7, 2008.

    The ACLU has not sued the city but asked in its letter that the Police
    Department turn over all records connected to the incident, including
    internal review documents and discipline or training records of the
    officers involved.

    A spokesman for the ACLU said the organization would wait for a formal
    response from both Hecker and Phelps before commenting.

    The Loveland Police Department did not return several messages from
    the Reporter-Herald requesting comment Thursday.

    Miller, 71, said Thursday that he isn’t looking for anything for
    himself, such as an apology, but rather he wants to teach a lesson.

    “I would like to see police officers change the way they approach
    people with guns,” Miller said in an interview.

    “I hope that (police departments) know they need to operate within the
    law and respect all of the constitutional rights of all the people.”

    Miller was carrying an unconcealed handgun in a holster attached to
    his waistband, he said, when he was approached by Loveland police
    officers who had received a report of a man with a weapon in the park.

    Miller wasn’t carrying the gun to protest or make a point, he said; he
    was trying out a new holster he had made.

    The police officers, according to the ACLU’s letter, seized Miller’s
    pistol “without consent, and emptied it of ammunition.”

    The officers then ordered Miller to give them his driver’s license,
    over his objections.

    After checking with dispatchers, the officers found that both the gun
    and Miller were clear of any issues, and they returned Miller’s gun
    and license.

    They also “explained our and citizens’ initial concern over the
    weapon,” the police incident report says.

    Miller also said, the ACLU’s letter says, that the officers told him
    he could expect similar treatment should “similar encounters occur in
    the future.”

    From the time officers first contacted Miller to the time they left
    was about 16 minutes, according to a police incident report. No
    charges were filed.

    Miller sent a formal complaint to 8th Judicial District Attorney Larry
    Abrahamson, according to a letter Phelps sent to Miller.

    In that letter, Phelps told Miller the office considered the incident
    an internal matter for the Police Department.

    Phelps said residents have a right to possess and carry firearms, but
    that “there is a fine line between the protection of an individual’s
    rights and the protection of a law enforcement officer.


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    mark edward marchiafava wrote:
    Glad to read another article where the ACLU is reversing it's tradition of ignoring gun rights' issues.
    we will bring them in inch by inch - the indirect approach is best, just like in 1983 actions. The man in the facts above was unlawfully detained and unlawfully searched - that's what the ACLU was made for.

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    I'm sure the ACLU is more concerned with the 4th amendment implications than the 2nd in this matter, but that's ok.

    -ljp

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    Dang, some people don't learn do they?

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    You need to file a federal civil rights suit!

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    Count wrote:
    You need to file a federal civil rights suit!

    I have been trying. The only real support I have got has been from the ACLU of Colorado.

    I need an attorney and funding. Attorneys deserve to be paid for their work. I have the names of attorneys who have been mentioned on this forum, but no offers of funding.

    (Also, the ones mentioned seem to all be criminal defense attorneys. Wouldn't I need a civil rights attorney?)

    The ACLU has neither committed themselves to nor ruled outfuture action, nor have they suggested that donations would influence any future decision they might make. Having worked with them for several weeks now and read the letter they wrote on my behalf to the Loveland Police Chief and the DA (attached), I strongly believe that they deserve our support and respect.


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    opencarrybilly wrote:
    Count wrote:
    You need to file a federal civil rights suit!
    I have been trying. The only real support I have got has been from the ACLU of Colorado.

    I need an attorney and funding. Attorneys deserve to be paid for their work. I have the names of attorneys who have been mentioned on this forum, but no offers of funding.

    (Also, the ones mentioned seem to all be criminal defense attorneys. Wouldn't I need a civil rights attorney?)
    If your case has merit, you ought to be able to find a civil rights attorney to take the case on contingency - the lawyer gets a cut of the damages awarded.

    No need for the lawer to be pro gun - these types may not be very good anyway - lawyers ARE hired guns - go find one who likes your kind of case.

    You should call thru the state bar reerral service - youwant to bring a 1983 action for unlawful search and seizure for damages and declaratory and injunctive relief. did you demand your SSN? If so, as a count for violating Section 7 of the Federal Privacy Act.

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    That is now 3 states where the ACLU is taking up firearms cases? Wonderful then! I might have to consider joining.

    And I am sure that this guy has the same problem as me. I have a great case and even evidence to support my case, but since no one died or were severely injured no lawyer I have discussed it with wants to touch it on a contingency basis.

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    “If your case has merit, “

    Not being a lawyer, I can only go by what Mr. Pendergrass wrote. It looks to me like the case has merit.


    “you ought to be able to find a civil rights attorney to take the case on contingency - the lawyer gets a cut of the damages awarded.”

    It seems to be the feeling among lawyers here in the Denver area that such cases pay so little as to be deemed a waste of time. Perhaps that is why they are so hard to find, contingency or not.


    “go find one who likes your kind of case.”

    Apparently I have. Name of Pendergrass, of the ACLU of Colorado.


    ”You should call thru the state bar reerral service “

    I did call them. They do not make referrals. They referred me to a referral service. The person I talked to there had never heard of the 2A and wanted $50 to refer me to the next lawyer on his list.


    “- youwant to bring a 1983 action for unlawful search and seizure for damages and declaratory and injunctive relief. did you demand your SSN? If so, as a count for violating Section 7 of the Federal Privacy Act.”

    I don’t understand any of this, nor do I want to. What I need is a lawyer and the necessary funding to make the case worth his/her time. So far, the ACLU of Colorado still seems to be my best hope.

    Perhaps the good people whose learned writings I read on this forum will be able to pull together what is needed. I do not have the desire, the hope, the mental capacity, or the lifespan required to become a lawyer. I am just a very ordinary old man who continues a life long struggle to make a living in a quite ordinary occupation while sticking up for civil rights when the opportunity has arisen. The present case is not the first time that it has. Other cases involving other American principles have cost me more than I care to discuss.

    I thank you and your members for your kind attention. And, I thank God for the ACLU of Colorado.

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    opencarrybilly wrote:
    ”You should call thru the state bar reerral service “

    I did call them. They do not make referrals. They referred me to a referral service. The person I talked to there had never heard of the 2A and wanted $50 to refer me to the next lawyer on his list.
    So pay the $50 and talk to some attorneys - mutliple of you have to.

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    opencarrybilly wrote:
    “- youwant to bring a 1983 action for unlawful search and seizure for damages and declaratory and injunctive relief. did you demand your SSN? If so, as a count for violating Section 7 of the Federal Privacy Act.”
    You are going to be an intregal part of your won case and will have to help sell you case to an atty to take the case on contingency.

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    Theseus wrote:
    That is now 3 states where the ACLU is taking up firearms cases? Wonderful then! I might have to consider joining.

    And I am sure that this guy has the same problem as me. I have a great case and even evidence to support my case, but since no one died or were severely injured no lawyer I have discussed it with wants to touch it on a contingency basis.
    I am guessing there are many others with this same problem. I hope we, along with many other forum members will take appropriate action that will go beyond just the exchange of words. Whaddyasay folks?

    Also, as I said above, the ACLU does deserve our support and respect.

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    Mike wrote:
    opencarrybilly wrote:
    ”You should call thru the state bar reerral service “

    I did call them. They do not make referrals. They referred me to a referral service. The person I talked to there had never heard of the 2A and wanted $50 to refer me to the next lawyer on his list.
    So pay the $50 and talk to some attorneys - mutliple of you have to.
    I have talked to some attorneys, Mike. That's how the case has come to the present state, which is not such a bad place. After all, this round has just begun.

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    opencarrybilly wrote:
    Theseus wrote:
    That is now 3 states where the ACLU is taking up firearms cases? Wonderful then! I might have to consider joining.

    And I am sure that this guy has the same problem as me. I have a great case and even evidence to support my case, but since no one died or were severely injured no lawyer I have discussed it with wants to touch it on a contingency basis.
    I am guessing there are many others with this same problem. I hope we, along with many other forum members will take appropriate action that will go beyond just the exchange of words. Whaddyasay folks?

    Also, as I said above, the ACLU does deserve our support and respect.
    Don't hold your breath too long.

    OCDO is not a helping organization. They seek only to get the information out and sway public opinion by writing articles, advertising on radio stations and putting up billboard signs.

    They have no interest in actually helping the activist, only capitalizing on the publicity when and if you do actually win.

    I recommend, like Mike, that you look elsewhere for assistance, you will not really find it here.

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    Mike wrote:
    opencarrybilly wrote:
    “- youwant to bring a 1983 action for unlawful search and seizure for damages and declaratory and injunctive relief. did you demand your SSN? If so, as a count for violating Section 7 of the Federal Privacy Act.”
    You are going to be an intregal part of your won case and will have to help sell you case to an atty to take the case on contingency.
    It's not my case, Mike. It's the case of the right of the People. Apparently the ACLU sees that. We must organize ourselves and pull together.

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    "I recommend, like Mike, that you look elsewhere for assistance, you will not really find it here."


    So, let's grab hold of the same end of the rope and pull together. Individually, it seems, isn't working so well.

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    Chief picks up gauntlet?

    Please go to http://www.reporterherald.com/news_s...14(Copyrighted material)



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    wow - the Chief of police says his officers can search any gun carrier and seize guns at will to run serial number checks - i wonder if he ever heard of the Fourth Amendment, Florida v. J.L., Kolender v. Lawson,or Arizona v. Hicks?

    --

    http://www.reporterherald.com/news_story.asp?ID=24014

    SNIP

    Publish Date: 7/18/2009













    Loveland police chief says officers did the right thing in 2008 gun incident


    By Jon Pilsner
    Loveland Reporter-Herald

    Loveland’s police chief says his officers did their jobs appropriately when they stopped a man for carrying a gun, an action the man has said was unconstitutional and excessive.


    Loveland Police Chief Luke Hecker said Friday he reviewed the incident in which his officers contacted Loveland resident Bill Miller at a park on the south shore of Lake Loveland last October. Hecker said their actions were not only appropriate, but the right thing to do.

    On Oct. 7, 2008, officers approached Miller, then 70, at the park and took and unloaded a handgun, which he had holstered to his hip in plain view, and checked on the gun and him to make sure both were clear and legal.

    After about 16 minutes, according to a police incident report, the officers returned the gun to Miller and left. . . .

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    I wonder if he read the lettersent to him bythe ACLU.

    hecker.aclu.7.16.09[1].pdf

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    opencarrybilly wrote:
    I wonder if he read the lettersent to him bythe ACLU.

    hecker.aclu.7.16.09[1].pdf
    Hmm, I wonder if they are having a collective "oh shoot" moment... Unlikely. These lessons only seem to be learned at the end of a 5 figure check.

    BTW, the letter has a typo, next to last paragraph, they ask for records of the incident which took place in October 2009! Oops.

    TFred


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    Yes. I noticed the typo and told the ACLU.

    As I said before, I am very favorably impressed with the ACLU of Colorado.

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    Theseus wrote:
    OCDO is not a helping organization. They seek only to get the information out and sway public opinion by writing articles, advertising on radio stations and putting up billboard signs.

    They have no interest in actually helping the activist, only capitalizing on the publicity when and if you do actually win.

    I recommend, like Mike, that you look elsewhere for assistance, you will not really find it here.
    That's harsh, man. And I think it's inaccurate.

    No, OCDO won't raise money for a person's defense, but there is nothingstopping a state-level organization, or trusted in-state representative from doing the same.

    Additionally,the publicity, the letter(s) / contact (s) that John or Mike might make are very valuable.

    This OCDO, this forum and the members who populate it are quite powerful - strong enough to get on the radar of a number of LE agencies.

    I'm forever glad for the creation and nurturing that John and Mike have done and continue to do.

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    BB62 wrote:
    Theseus wrote:
    OCDO is not a helping organization. They seek only to get the information out and sway public opinion by writing articles, advertising on radio stations and putting up billboard signs.

    They have no interest in actually helping the activist, only capitalizing on the publicity when and if you do actually win.

    I recommend, like Mike, that you look elsewhere for assistance, you will not really find it here.
    That's harsh, man. And I think it's inaccurate.

    No, OCDO won't raise money for a person's defense, but there is nothingstopping a state-level organization, or trusted in-state representative from doing the same.

    Additionally,the publicity, the letter(s) / contact (s) that John or Mike might make are very valuable.

    This OCDO, this forum and the members who populate it are quite powerful - strong enough to get on the radar of a number of LE agencies.

    I'm forever glad for the creation and nurturing that John and Mike have done and continue to do.
    Don't get me wrong, OCDO does serve its purpose, and I am not saying otherwise. What I am saying is that the help that the poster was seeking is not to be found here.

    They can barely raise money enough for billboard signs, let alone the personal defense of one of us when we get persecuted. OCDO is not in a capacity to assist us in matters of true defense against charges.

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    The organization itself or its members, it makes no difference to me who might want to come together in support of this effort.

    And, please note that I am not defending myself against any charges. There were none. I am trying to bring action againmst the Loveland police. Although the matter has thus far come to be the violation of my personal 4A right, I do not intend to forget that the real issue is the 2A right of the People. There is also a 1A issue here that I intend to pursue, not claiming that theOC is speach. Courts have found that it is not. However, I claim that the conversation that many people want to have with me upon seeing me OCing is speech and that, to the extent that officers get away with discouraging me from OCing, they have a chilling effect on that speech.

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    opencarrybilly wrote:
    Although the matter has thus far come to be the violation of my personal 4A right, I do not intend to forget that the real issue is the 2A right of the People. There is also a 1A issue here that I intend to pursue, not claiming that theOC is speach. Courts have found that it is not.
    Expressive conduct is protected speech - what case holds that open carry cannot be expressive conduct?

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