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Thread: A case regarding a man OCing at Des Moines Beach Park

  1. #1
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    I was summoned as a witness to a DV case at the Des Moines court a few months back, and after the case was over, I decided to stick around for a bit and watch a few infraction cases.

    There was one case regarding a man who was OCing at the Des Moines Beach Park after dark, and he was given a trespassing citation for being in the park after hours. In the report, it was noted that he was carrying a firearm.

    His defense in court was that he was under the impression that he was able to be physically present at the beach park, but thought that the park hours meant that he was only unable to leave his vehicle in the park.

    The judge actually admitted that he wasn't 100% sure of how that sign would be interpreted. The sign simply has the hours of the park, but doesn't specifically say if it means "No Parking after hours" or "No Trespassing after hours"

    I could tell the judge was leaning toward issuing a fine for the infraction, but then contacted the Mayors office and was actually informed that the sign simply means that you can not have your vehicle parked in the Beach Park after hours. The judge continuously pestered the man as to why he had his firearm on him, and he kept saying that he was simply taking a late night jog through the park and said he always carries his pistol with him when he's out late at night, and he argued that the only reason he was stopped and citated was because the officer saw his pistol.

    Obviously the judge hadn't seen too many cases like this, otherwise he would have known the policy of the park. Does this sound like he was simply stopped and cited because he was OCing in the park?

    Can the officer get any sort of disciplinary action for wrongfully issuing an infraction when the Mayors office concluded that he wasn't in violation?

  2. #2
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    Sounds to me like a case where the cop didn't know the law regarding the sign and it also sounds like a case of harassment by the cop. I think that he issued the cite because he wanted to bug the guy with the gun and try to intimidate.

  3. #3
    Regular Member j2l3's Avatar
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    I don't read it that way at all, especially since the judge didn't know what was what as well..
    CZ 75B 9mm, Ruger P94 .40 S&W, Bersa Thunder .380, AR-15 Homebuild

  4. #4
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    Wow. Really a crack team there at the DM Muni Court. The judge had to ask the Mayor's Office for legal advice?

  5. #5
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    Deception Pass rangers enforce the hours the same way. The sign says park hours are 6:30 to dusk and it's got a gate that blocks off the access to the parking lot. They make a sweep of the parking lot and kick out all of the vehicles but have never told anyone who walks down from the campground to leave.

    I would have assumed that when the sign says the park is closed it applies to people walking in as well.

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