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Thread: The Morning Call - Allentown, PA settles with open carrier for $23,500

  1. #1
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    The Morning Call - Allentown, PA settles with open carrier for $23,500

    http://www.mcall.com/news/local/carp...,318503.column

    SNIP

    The taxpayers of Allentown just got stuck with an unnecessary $23,500 tab.

    That may not be much in a city that treats tax money like the water flowing over the Hamilton Street Dam (proposed new budget: $88.5 million), but it might have been avoided if people paid to enforce the law could be persuaded to obey it themselves.

    On Oct. 6, 2008, Jerry Corliss, a law-abiding citizen who then lived in Allentown, was carrying a Glock handgun in a holster when he visited the Home Depot store just off Lehigh Street. It appears that somebody there became hysterical over the idea that anyone not in government might exercise his or her right to bear arms.

    Soon, according to court documents, Dale Stokes, an Allentown police officer, stormed into the store, detained Corliss for doing absolutely nothing illegal, searched him without a warrant and seized his pistol.

    . . .

    Corliss was not charged and the weapon was returned, but those actions clashed with both the Bill of Rights and the Pennsylvania Constitution, which will cost the city, or its insurance carrier, $23,500 to settle a federal lawsuit brought by Corliss, who now lives in Lebanon.

    City officials do not seem eager to publicize the case and I learned about its resolution last month only when Corliss called me because, he said, somebody told him I support the Bill of Rights, as if that's something unusual these days.

    Even if people can distort the meaning of the Bill of Rights to justify gun control, there is no mistaking the "Declaration of Rights" at the start of the Pennsylvania Constitution. "The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned," it says.

    . . .

    Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin said essentially the same thing. "The permit permits you to carry a concealed weapon," Martin said. "You don't need a permit to carry a gun openly."

    . . .

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Surely it is cheaper for the city and better for all concerned if the LEA and it's officers are properly informed.
    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time.

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    Serves AllenTown Right!, and maybe, just MAYBE, 'They' MIGHT Learn something.

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    I'd be interested in learning if the officer recently transferred from either NY or NJ. That would explain quite a bit.

    Also, wouldn't it be helpful if dispatch maybe reminded the officers that OC is legal so they don't screw up like this?

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    Super Moderator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by press1280 View Post
    I'd be interested in learning if the officer recently transferred from either NY or NJ. That would explain quite a bit.

    Also, wouldn't it be helpful if dispatch maybe reminded the officers that OC is legal so they don't screw up like this?
    I keep hearing/seeing this word "transferred." What is that?

    In every case with which I am familiar, a LEO from another state still goes through the academy - benefits generally include higher starting pay based on experience - they are not transferred in, given a badge and sent out on the streets.
    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by press1280 View Post
    I'd be interested in learning if the officer recently transferred from either NY or NJ. That would explain quite a bit.

    Also, wouldn't it be helpful if dispatch maybe reminded the officers that OC is legal so they don't screw up like this?
    Stokes, the off duty officer who originally detained me, was trained in Allentown and worked there his entire career.

    Hoogenboom, the on duty officer I was talking to while Stokes was making radio calls fishing for something to do to me, was originally from New York. IIRC he was NYPD, and retired, but I could be confused about the exact NY details. He had to take some training regarding PA laws when he got hired by Allentown.

    The deposition transcripts and other documents are available at http://www.thecrimsonpirate.com/rtkba/archive.html

    My case is about the 6th section down beginning with the police incident report. I still have some more documents to add if I can ever get around to it.

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    Super Moderator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by truecrimson View Post
    Stokes, the off duty officer who originally detained me, was trained in Allentown and worked there his entire career.

    Hoogenboom, the on duty officer I was talking to while Stokes was making radio calls fishing for something to do to me, was originally from New York. IIRC he was NYPD, and retired, but I could be confused about the exact NY details. He had to take some training regarding PA laws when he got hired by Allentown.

    The deposition transcripts and other documents are available at http://www.thecrimsonpirate.com/rtkba/archive.html

    My case is about the 6th section down beginning with the police incident report. I still have some more documents to add if I can ever get around to it.
    Nicely documented - thanks.
    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time.

    Yata hey

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    I listened to the audio of the hearing for summary judgment. The judge keep looking for an excuse to throw the case out, but kept on going to back to if you were illegally carrying or not. The whole convoluted, he must have been carrying illegally if he had no license and was armed was funny.

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    If I made a mistake that cost my company $23,500 I'd be taking some unpaid vacation. I wonder if anything at all was officially said or done to either Officer Stokes or Officer Hoogenboom. I also wonder what these officers would have done if they did not discover that Mr. Corliss did indeed have a carry permit. Lastly I guess I can add Home Depot to my no shop list along with Sears and Kmart.
    Don

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    If I made a mistake that cost my company $23,500 I'd be taking some unpaid vacation.
    Well, in this case the cost was to the City of Allentown's insurance carrier, which will reflect eventually in the city's insurance rates. How the municipal government deals with this possible rate increase will be up to them.

    I also wonder what these officers would have done if they did not discover that Mr. Corliss did indeed have a carry permit.
    Whether or not Mr. Corliss had a License to Carry Firearms is and was immaterial. An LTCF is not required to openly carry a firearm in Pennsylvania (except in Philadelphia), which was the case here.

    Lastly I guess I can add Home Depot to my no shop list along with Sears and Kmart.
    Home Depot is blameless in this instance. They neither raised the issue nor had anything to do with Mr. Corliss' illegal detainment. Home Depot's policy is to comply with state law, which in this case means not objecting to paying customers openly carrying firearms while shopping.
    Last edited by Statkowski; 12-13-2010 at 07:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Statkowski View Post
    Whether or not Mr. Corliss had a License to Carry Firearms is and was immaterial. An LTCF is not required to openly carry a firearm in Pennsylvania (except in Philadelphia), which was the case here.
    As neither Officer seemed to be aware of the laws concerning LTCF, it's doubtful they were aware of the laws regarding open carry and the fact that a LTCF was not necessary. Officer Stokes actually called SGT. Lake at CID to confirm that Mr. Corliss was within his rights to carry the firearm in the manner which he had. So even after Officer Stokes had determined that Mr. Corliss had a LTCF, he still questioned the legality of his choice of open carry. So the fact that Mr. Corliss had a LTCF obviously should have been immaterial, it was not in this case. Neither Officer seemed to have any knowledge whatsoever of the laws governing open carry or regarding the LTCF.


    Quote Originally Posted by Statkowski View Post
    Home Depot is blameless in this instance. They neither raised the issue nor had anything to do with Mr. Corliss' illegal detainment. Home Depot's policy is to comply with state law, which in this case means not objecting to paying customers openly carrying firearms while shopping.
    In Officer Hoogenbllom's police report it states that the Store Manager asked the Asst. Store Manager to advise Mr. Corliss that the store would prefer that he conceal his firearm when frequenting Home Depot In Officer Stokes" police report, he states that the Store Manager did not want the weapon in the store and asked if it could be placed in Mr. Corliss' car. It was also a Home Depot employee, Dawn Barry, that first alerted Officer Stokes and asked him to get involved. So it's my opinion Home Depot is not blameless in this instance and in this store at least, they are not going to allow open carry.
    Don

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlue View Post
    In Officer Hoogenbllom's police report it states that the Store Manager asked the Asst. Store Manager to advise Mr. Corliss that the store would prefer that he conceal his firearm when frequenting Home Depot In Officer Stokes" police report, he states that the Store Manager did not want the weapon in the store and asked if it could be placed in Mr. Corliss' car. It was also a Home Depot employee, Dawn Barry, that first alerted Officer Stokes and asked him to get involved. So it's my opinion Home Depot is not blameless in this instance and in this store at least, they are not going to allow open carry.
    Don
    I stand corrected. Obviously the Home Depot people there in Allentown need to be reminded of corporate policy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Statkowski View Post
    Home Depot people there in Allentown need to be reminded of corporate policy.
    That appears to be the case in many stores, including many Sears and Kmarts as well. They just assume they know what's best for their store without regard for corporate policy or the laws within the state.
    Don

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlue View Post
    That appears to be the case in many stores, including many Sears and Kmarts as well. They just assume they know what's best for their store without regard for corporate policy or the laws within the state.
    Don
    Still education and furtherance of our goals is better than crossing them off our list - that would suit the dark forces fine.
    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time.

    Yata hey

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlue View Post
    That appears to be the case in many stores, including many Sears and Kmarts as well. They just assume they know what's best for their store without regard for corporate policy or the laws within the state.
    Don
    If the store was not posted... they cannot invent corporate policy on the fly. I've never had so much as a blink in my local Home Depot... (or K-Mart) as has been mentioned. As for the cops... it's called 'law enforcement', not 'opinion enforcement'. $23,500. is an expensive lesson in the difference.

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    Super Moderator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonora Rebel View Post
    If the store was not posted... they cannot invent corporate policy on the fly. I've never had so much as a blink in my local Home Depot... (or K-Mart) as has been mentioned. As for the cops... it's called 'law enforcement', not 'opinion enforcement'. $23,500. is an expensive lesson in the difference.
    At least in Virginia, suspect in most all states, a local manager/company rep can and has made decisions that are enforceable at that time and place. They may be contradictory to corporate policy and therefore may be reversed later.

    At one time a local Home Depot had gun buster signs, but follow through and education got them removed. I have regularly OCd in Home Depot, Lowe's, Northern Tool, Harbor Freight, KMart, and Sears. All these have been mentioned at one time or another as being gun free zones; nevertheless, I have never experienced a problem with any of these retailers.
    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time.

    Yata hey

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    Regular Member Sonora Rebel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    At least in Virginia, suspect in most all states, a local manager/company rep can and has made decisions that are enforceable at that time and place.
    Yeah... they can trespass you. That's all. They cannot enforce 'covering up' or any other silly thing. I don't see where this guy was trespassed... 'just a gaggle of whiney bed-wetters and a pair of cops who wanted to play hero in front of some snootch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlue View Post
    As neither Officer seemed to be aware of the laws concerning LTCF, it's doubtful they were aware of the laws regarding open carry and the fact that a LTCF was not necessary. Officer Stokes actually called SGT. Lake at CID to confirm that Mr. Corliss was within his rights to carry the firearm in the manner which he had. So even after Officer Stokes had determined that Mr. Corliss had a LTCF, he still questioned the legality of his choice of open carry. So the fact that Mr. Corliss had a LTCF obviously should have been immaterial, it was not in this case. Neither Officer seemed to have any knowledge whatsoever of the laws governing open carry or regarding the LTCF.



    In Officer Hoogenbllom's police report it states that the Store Manager asked the Asst. Store Manager to advise Mr. Corliss that the store would prefer that he conceal his firearm when frequenting Home Depot In Officer Stokes" police report, he states that the Store Manager did not want the weapon in the store and asked if it could be placed in Mr. Corliss' car. It was also a Home Depot employee, Dawn Barry, that first alerted Officer Stokes and asked him to get involved. So it's my opinion Home Depot is not blameless in this instance and in this store at least, they are not going to allow open carry.
    Don
    Home Depot was dealt with at the time by another OCer and myself. We got corporate policy clarified, and recommunicated to that store. He, I, and others have been in that store and others many times since with no further issues.

    Last year there was an issue with another local store in Easton, PA (was not me though). A little bird gave me the e mail addresses of all of the corporate officers and a couple of us took it straight to them. Policy was again recommunicated to all of the local managers.

    My email chain in the Easton incident is located here
    http://www.thecrimsonpirate.com/rtkb...EmailChain.doc

    It is in the section on the archive for documentation related to businesses
    http://www.thecrimsonpirate.com/rtkba/archive/
    Last edited by truecrimson; 12-20-2010 at 12:36 AM. Reason: add detail

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    Congrats on the ruling

    So we had a $30K "award" to a fellow OCer here in CA looks like the police departments need to get up to speed on OCing as it's starting to hit them in their pocketbooks!!! Carry ON !
    "There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is to use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wound, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time."

    - General George S. Patton, Jr.

  20. #20
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    i'm still waiting for Madison to pay me my just due.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxtPRF6NG7I
    Last edited by McX; 12-23-2010 at 04:39 PM.

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    inform

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    http://www.mcall.com/news/local/carp...,318503.column

    SNIP

    The taxpayers of Allentown just got stuck with an unnecessary $23,500 tab.

    That may not be much in a city that treats tax money like the water flowing over the Hamilton Street Dam (proposed new budget: $88.5 million), but it might have been avoided if people paid to enforce the law could be persuaded to obey it themselves.

    On Oct. 6, 2008, Jerry Corliss, a law-abiding citizen who then lived in Allentown, was carrying a Glock handgun in a holster when he visited the Home Depot store just off Lehigh Street. It appears that somebody there became hysterical over the idea that anyone not in government might exercise his or her right to bear arms.

    Soon, according to court documents, Dale Stokes, an Allentown police officer, stormed into the store, detained Corliss for doing absolutely nothing illegal, searched him without a warrant and seized his pistol.

    . . .

    Corliss was not charged and the weapon was returned, but those actions clashed with both the Bill of Rights and the Pennsylvania Constitution, which will cost the city, or its insurance carrier, $23,500 to settle a federal lawsuit brought by Corliss, who now lives in Lebanon.

    City officials do not seem eager to publicize the case and I learned about its resolution last month only when Corliss called me because, he said, somebody told him I support the Bill of Rights, as if that's something unusual these days.

    Even if people can distort the meaning of the Bill of Rights to justify gun control, there is no mistaking the "Declaration of Rights" at the start of the Pennsylvania Constitution. "The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned," it says.

    . . .

    Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin said essentially the same thing. "The permit permits you to carry a concealed weapon," Martin said. "You don't need a permit to carry a gun openly."

    . . .
    we could somehow inform the public of the legality.using tv or radio,pbs?
    JP

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpjpjp View Post
    we could somehow inform the public of the legality.using tv or radio,pbs?
    hahaha

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    911...

    yeah, this ALL starts at 911. Unless you see a cop nearby and say something word of mouth, 99% of all police business starts with a 911 call...

    right THERE, they need to say something. "Man with a gun, ma'am, is NOT an emergency, ok? Not unless the man with the gun is robbing someone. man wth a gun having a cheeseburger is just fine, ok?"

    would eliminate 90% of this...

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    what about neighboring Bethlehem?

    I wonder if the memo trickled down to Bethlehm pd?any news on that?
    JP

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    Believe me......they know that it is legal to OC. It's just a matter of if they want to be thugs or not.

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