Thread: OpenCarry.org's Mike Stollenwerk cited by the Wisconsin Journal Times re obstruction charges
Open carry supporters say no basis for charges against Racine man
MARCI LAEHR TENUTA firstname.lastname@example.org | Posted: Friday, September 11, 2009 7:40 pm |
Frank Hannan-Rock, Wednesday September 9, 2009 Racine County Jail booking photo - concealed carry case.
Man's arrest sparks open carry debate
RACINE - The arrest of a Racine man openly carrying a gun on his front porch has sparked controversy that police believe may have been contrived.
Frank Hannan-Rock, 52, of 417 Luedtke Ave. was taken into custody Wednesday evening on a charge of obstructing. Racine police claim he wouldn't provide information to them during an active weapons violation investigation.
Reached by phone after being released from jail early Thursday, Hannan-Rock wouldn't comment. But friends and fellow supporters of open carry are outraged over his arrest.
Hubert Hoffman of Onalaksa called Hannan-Rock's arrest a persecution.
Hoffman, who made headlines as the organizer of an open-carry picnic in Onalaska earlier this year, met Hannan-Rock on an online forum at http://opencarry.org. He said he is angry that his friend was detained for eight hours and says he did nothing illegal.
"I don't understand how Frank ended up in jail," said Hoffman. "I'm angry about it. Police cha
RACINE - Formal charges against a Racine man arrested while openly carrying a gun on his front porch are still pending, but open carry supporters say there is no basis for them.
Frank Hannan-Rock, 52, of 417 Luedtke Ave. was arrested Wednesday night for obstructing after he allegedly refused to provide Racine police with his name or any other information. Police were investigating a complaint of a weapons violation down the block that involved a gun.
Whether the Racine County District Attorney's Office will charge Hannan-Rock remains undetermined. District Attorney Mike Nieskes said Friday that they are reviewing police reports.
"We're still trying to sort this all out," he said. "The investigation in ongoing. I can't comment on what's going to happen."
Nieskes said his office hopes to make a charging decision in the case by early next week.
Open carry supporters claim Hannan-Rock was unlawfully detained.
"You can't arrest someone for not providing their name," said Mike Stollenwerk, the co-founder of the Web site http://www.opencarry.org. "Our Wisconsin members are hot ... over this."
The online gun rights community has over 22,000 members, including Hannan-Rock. Following the arrest, other members expressed their outrage in online forums and said Hannan-Rock had been "kidnapped" off his own front porch.
Hannan-Rock was released from the Racine County Jail early Thursday morning. Reached by phone later that day he said he didn't want to comment.
However, supporters from around the country are contacting The Journal Times and the Racine Police Department. Stollenwerk sent a copy of a July 2004 newsletter from the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, Inc., in which Milwaukee civil rights defense attorney Kevin P. Reak wrote an article attempting to clarify whether officers could arrest someone for not providing their name. "An arrest without probable cause to believe an offense has been committed clearly violates the Fourth Amendment ... unless there is a constitutionally defendable statute or ordinance that requires that a person identify himself upon request by an officer," he wrote.
According to the article, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has held that mere refusal to identify oneself following a stop does not constitute obstructing under Wisconsin statute.
But police, who believe that Hannan-Rock may have set the whole incident up as a way to test officers' reaction to his open carrying, said this arrest has to be looked at in context.
Police spokesman Sgt. Bernie Kupper said there is a difference between an officer who is not on a call for service walking up to someone on the street and asking their name, and officers investigating a weapons violation complaint wanting to question someone outside in the neighborhood wearing a gun.
"I'm not sure everyone is looking at the total package," Kupper said.
Officers didn't know whether Hannan-Rock was legally allowed to have the gun or that he was on his own property, Kupper said, because he wouldn't tell them.
Police reports said officers were called to a home just down the street from Hannan-Rock's home around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday by an anonymous caller who said someone was shooting at raccoons near where children were playing.
Investigating officers were given a description of the offender and a possible address for him of 405 Luedtke Ave. When they didn't find the person at that address, they noticed a man matching the suspect description on the porch of 417 Luedtke Ave. He was apparently standing next to Hannan-Rock, who was openly carrying a gun.
When Hannan-Rock refused to answer police questions, they arrested him for obstructing.
Police are still looking into whether or not the incident was actually a set-up by Hannan-Rock to test officers' reaction to his open carrying. Reports said they determined the initial complaint about the weapons violation came from his house.
Police said Hannan-Rock was in possession of a digital voice recorder and a pamphlet on open carry at the time of his arrest.