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Thread: I Had My First Encounter With A LEO Today…Long, Very Long Story…

  1. #1
    Regular Member Outdoorsman1's Avatar
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    I Had My First Encounter With A LEO Today…Long, Very Long Story…

    Ok to be honest I was having 2nd thoughts about posting this because I know what some reactions are going to be. But then I realized that the most important “reaction” to my experience is mine. And my reaction was positive so here is the post and I will also offer my reasoning for certain “concessions” I made that I am sure some here will strongly disagree with… Please read in its entirety before you “let me have it”….

    I was on my way to the local grocery store and stopped off at Walgreen’s to pick up a few things (about a block away from the grocery store). I opened carried into Walgreen’s (for the first time in that store). I had no problem at all OC’ing there and left. On my way to the grocery store I noticed a County Sheriff had a black pick up “pulled over” with the squad cars lights flashing. I wonderd what the guy in the truck did to get pulled over. I drove past them and continued to the grocery store. I checked my rear view mirror and noticed that the squad had pulled in right behind me and followed me into the store parking lot without lights flashing. As it was only 1 block I did not fasten my seat belt so I figured I was going to get a ticket for that. I pulled into a parking space and the squad stopped directly behind me. I got out of my car and based on what learned here I “asked him” the question… “How can I help you”… He asked me if I had a loaded gun in my car...!!! Again remembering stuff I read here, I remained totally calm and answered with another question… “No sir I do not, why do you ask”.

    He then said that the guy in the black truck pulled him over and reported that I had a loaded gun in my car…??? To which I replied again… “No I do not”. He then asked if I had a gun in my car and I replied “Yes I do, but it is legal as it is unloaded and in a case as required by WI. State law… (reason for admitting I had a gun)… (I figured that if he already had a report that I had a “loaded” gun in my car that was cause for a search with or without my permission.) I proceeded to inform him that I was an open carrier and was well versed on the laws regarding OC and vehicle transport. At that time I also told him that I had just come from OC’ing in Walgreen’s without any issues at all and someone (the guy in the black truck) must have seen me in the parking lot and just assumed I got into my car with the loaded weapon still holstered on my hip. At that time I pointed to my empty holster on my hip. He then got out of his squad and asked me if he could check my weapon. I replied that as I have nothing to hide it would be ok with me… reason….from the very beginning he was polite and not at all confrontational and I also I knew I was 100% legal with nothing to hide). I stepped back and he proceeded to open the case, remove the weapon and check if it had a magazine in it. He said ok... and I suggested to him the he rack the slide to confirm I did not have a round in the chamber which he did. He then put the pistol back into the case. I then informed him that I intended to OC into the grocery store as I had already done so many times with the owner’s permission. He replied that he had no problem with that and no problem with OC’ing; it was just that he had to check out the report of a loaded weapon in a vehicle. I could tell that after he understood the situation he became a bit more relaxed and even friendlier.

    He then asked me for my driver’s license for his report. I told him (1st time) that I wanted it written in his report that I was NOT doing anything illegal and was in complete compliance with the law. He said that he had no problem including that in his report as “It was obvious to him that I was not being disorderly”. I gave him my driver’s license ...Reason….He also was not in anyway confrontational or being a jerk so I figured why at that point should I start being being “non-cooperative”. He took my license and walked back to his squad to run it through the computer. He was literally parked about 5 feet away and had his window rolled down so in full view I proceeded to pick up my weapon from the car and put the Mag. in and chambered a round. I then took the mag out and replaced the round with the extra I keep available as I prefer to carry “Fully Loaded” (12+1). I holstered the weapon and walked up to his window. He mentioned that my license had a Racine WI address and that I had mentioned earlier that I was from Silver Lake. I told him I recently moved and did not get my license changed yet. He gave me back my license and continued writing his report. I told him again (2nd time) that I wanted it clearly stated that I was doing nothing illegal, he again said no problem and I watched him write exactly that. He offered for me to read the entry which I declined as I had witnessed him writing exactly what I requested. He thanked me for my cooperation and I thanked him for his understanding of the law and the situation. He mentioned that he was going to follow up with the person that made the complaint. I mentioned for a third time that I would appreciate him explaining OC to the person and let him no that no law was broken… he again said no problem and that he would do that to avoid another complaint from the same person if he ever saw another open carrier. I offered him my hand and he took it and we shook hands. He told me to have a nice day and I headed towards the store with my pistol holstered on my hip. He drove away…

    There’s more….

    In the commotion I forgot my cell phone in my car so I went back outside to get it…and there was the LEO writing down my license plate number. I again asked him “Can I help you”... He said that he was just getting my vehicle information for his report... I said ok no problem and confirmed the year it was made…He then asked me where I purchased my gun so I told him that I had bought it form a private party… reason… I figured that we had already parted company when I walked into the store and he drove away so it was more like just making conversation. He then asked me that because I purchased from a private party if he could run the gun to confirm that it was not stolen (by the seller) or ever used in a crime (?)… (I have always wondered about private party gun deals as to how do you know you are not buying a stolen weapon from a complete stranger) so I ok,d him running the gun… reason…for my own satisfaction and peace of mind that I did not buy a stolen weapon. He then asked for the serial number of the weapon... I removed it from the holster and started to read him the number… He stopped me and said he would have to read it for himself... (Obviously to insure I did not give him a false number)… I replied that under any other circumstance I would never surrender my weapon to anyone He reassured me that he was not going to keep the gun and that he had already “let” me walk away knowing that it was loaded on my hip. For reasons already listed above (not his reassurance) I handed him my weapon. Before I handed it to him I informed him that it was fully loaded with a round in the chamber. He said that he was experienced in handling loaded weapons and reached through the window and took the gun. We were both obviously careful not to sweep each other with the barrel. He wrote down the serial number and handed it back to me and I put in back in the holster. At that point he was entering the number and the weather was a little nasty, raining, sleeting and gusty winds. He told me if I wanted I could wait in my car to which I replied that “No, I couldn’t as I had a loaded pistol in my holster and sitting in my car would be illegal”, and joked that I sure as hell was not going to sit in the back of his car either… he chuckled. I will never know if this was a bait to get me to break the law, but buy his actions and facial expression when I replied, he genuinely seem to have a ….oh yea … that’s right…Duh…moment. I the told him that in all the commotion, I left my cell phone in the car and could I lean into the car to grab it off the seat. He replied sure no problem, so I did just that without an issue. The gun check came back ok (I was relived) and again I joked with him about if I got up on his front brush guard if he would give me a ride to the front doors of the store…He laughingly replied “I don’t think so” We then parted company for the last time.

    OK..I know many here will find many faults (in their opinion) of my actions and willingness to share so nuch info, but in my mind it was a positive 1st LEO encounter because…

    I did not get arrested…
    I remained calm...
    I initiated the conversation with a question…
    I replied to his response with another question…
    I based my attitude towards the LEO on his initial attitude towards me… non confrontational... he never drue his weapon. If he started with a confrontational attitude, I am positive I would have not been willing to share ANY info.
    Early in the encounter I informed the LEO that even after being stopped for suspicion of having a loaded gun in my car I fully intended to exercise my legal and constitutional right to open carry in the grocery store and proceeded to load and holster my weapon in full view of the LEO. (by that time he was relaxed and confident that I was in fact an OC’er who knew his rights and the law, and did not have a loaded weapon in the car.)
    I developed an almost friendly atmosphere with the LEO and was actually able to joke around with him during the end of our contact…
    I pretty much insisted that he include in his report that I did absolutely nothing illegal (which he did).
    I am confident that in future LEO encounters his report will speak in my favor…
    I asked and he would agree to inform the person that made the complaint about OC and that it was in fact legal. Which he replied yes with a believable reason why he would…
    I was able to find out that I do not own a stolen weapon.
    I was wearing my new OC hat...

    I will plead guilty to one mistake…. As I was already out of my car, and had realized the LEO had a non confrontational attitude, it never crossed my mind to turn on my video camera / voice recorder which I carry in a nylon case on my gun belt… I am real sure that I will not make that mistake in the future.

    Finally, I totally based my attitude towards the LEO on his attitude towards me, and also that I am a very strong believer in “you reap what you sow” and as I was totally legal and had absolutely nothing to hide handling the situation they way I did was acceptable with the desired results achieved.

    Outdoorsman1

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    Regular Member 1245A Defender's Avatar
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    well,,

    good for you,,
    very positive experience for all.

    you likely already know what kinds of flames might be coming,

    all i will say is that next time, maybe you will not give in so much.

    carry on !
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  3. #3
    Regular Member HandyHamlet's Avatar
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    The first thing I thought was "Oh........." when I saw your post.

    Glad you both came out unscathed.
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    Regular Member CalicoJack10's Avatar
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    Nice to see a positive experience with the LEO. Where I am from that doesn't happen too often. Though I must admit, I would have done things a lot different.
    Last edited by CalicoJack10; 04-04-2011 at 01:21 AM. Reason: bad spelling
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    Regular Member XDFDE45's Avatar
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    Glad it worked out okay for you.
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  6. #6
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    Glad it turned out OK.

    I can understand the desire to avoid having the car searched--he may have had probable cause based on the other driver's report. I'm not an expert on that area of law, but I suspect that if the other driver gave his own name and contact info such that he was more than just an anonymous tip, the cop might have had probable cause for a search. Maybe somebody who knows for sure can chip in some case law.

    I would urge exercising your rights more, though. We have seen and heard right here on this forum two cops being very nice and friendly to the OCer, then back at the squad car one cop saying, "There has got to be a way to get this guy."

    The problem with cop encounters is that you may not know it is a bad cop or a cop looking to burn an OCer until it is too late. Thus, the unreliability of basing one's handling on the cop's behavior.

    If we look at this a little analytically, there could be no justification for the cop wanting your identity. He'd already determined you were legal. Our rights are not trumped by police policy and blank spaces on a report form. That's the nicest thing we can say. The alternative is that he was fishing for warrants, but that may not be all that applicable here if the timing of the request doesn't support the idea.

    Also, consenting to a serial number check is probably not a good idea. It cannot possibly be an advantage to you. The result is either a legitimate gun, which while it doesn't harm you, doesn't help you either; or a stolen gun which is gonna open a whole new can of worms where you might have just escaped unscathed. The police are not performing a free public service to determine for you if your gun is stolen and you need to do something about it. If it was reported stolen by a previous owner, the cop in front of you during an investigative encounter is not the person you want finding out about it. Even if you bought it brand-new, what's to say its brother with the next serial number in line was not reported stolen. Long shot? Probably. Given the potential headaches, though, I would say its not worth risking the long shot for so little benefit when the cost for avoidance is as simple as uttering the words, "Oh, no thanks, officer. I know you are just doing your job, but I would not consent to a serial number check."

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    Campaign Veteran GLOCK21GB's Avatar
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    1. Can I check your gun to see if it's loaded ....NO .. Probable cause ??? .... GET WARRANT
    2. Can I see your ID ? ....NO Open carry is legal, I have violated no law
    3. Where did you get your gun...NONE of your business
    4. Can I run your Pistol to see if it's stolen ? ....NO .......GET WARRANT

    Dude.. I am glad you thought this was such a great interaction with a LEO but you reacted as the typical sheep would. Stand up for your self.... If you claim to know the law as well as you do......then you know that you could have said no to everything & the cops know that too.
    Last edited by GLOCK21GB; 04-04-2011 at 02:21 AM.
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    As a member of the "Madison 5" I can say this, you will NEVER know what you will do until the time comes.

    I'm not going to say anything else...

  9. #9
    McX
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    I agree with Mlutz. And as another Madison 5-er i think you did fine.

  10. #10
    McX
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    i found this in the washington state forum, the audio is interesting:

    Harrassed by 4 sheriffs in STARBUCKS!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glock34 View Post
    1. Can I check your gun to see if it's loaded ....NO .. Probable cause ??? .... GET WARRANT
    2. Can I see your ID ? ....NO Open carry is legal, I have violated no law
    3. Where did you get your gun...NONE of your business
    4. Can I run your Pistol to see if it's stolen ? ....NO .......GET WARRANT

    Dude.. I am glad you thought this was such a great interaction with a LEO but you reacted as the typical sheep would. Stand up for your self.... If you claim to know the law as well as you do......then you know that you could have said no to everything & the cops know that too.
    As an individual that has Training and Experience from both the Civilian and Military side of LE, the Sheriff did have ALL the PC he needed based upon the observation of the complainant in the black truck. Hence an individual was operating a motor vehicle, he was required to produce ID also since LEO had PC, he could have searched the vehicle.
    All in all a completely LEGAL contact.
    What surprises me is the LAX attitude of the LEO staying in his squad, even knowing that an individual had a weapon, even during the contact, I DO NOT care how well you present yourself to LEO, they're ALWAYS "fishing" for unfo, since most PPL just offer up incriminating info about their actions.
    More to be learned here.
    Like said B4, you never know how you'll react to your first LEO contact until it actually happens.
    Good luck

  12. #12
    Regular Member metalman383's Avatar
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    I defenitely would have drawn the line, with running the numbers on the gun.

  13. #13
    Regular Member Outdoorsman1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qball54208 View Post
    As an individual that has Training and Experience from both the Civilian and Military side of LE, the Sheriff did have ALL the PC he needed based upon the observation of the complainant in the black truck. Hence an individual was operating a motor vehicle, he was required to produce ID also since LEO had PC, he could have searched the vehicle.
    All in all a completely LEGAL contact.
    What surprises me is the LAX attitude of the LEO staying in his squad, even knowing that an individual had a weapon, even during the contact, I DO NOT care how well you present yourself to LEO, they're ALWAYS "fishing" for unfo, since most PPL just offer up incriminating info about their actions.
    More to be learned here.
    Like said B4, you never know how you'll react to your first LEO contact until it actually happens.
    Good luck
    This is exactly how I felt at the time... He had a report of a loaded weapon in my car...
    = probable cause. If I had copted the attitude of I know my rights and I'll be damned if your going to get any info from me, I am sure things would have went very much different. I had no problem with him "fishing" for info as I was 110% confident that there was no "incrininating info" to be found. I was also very suprised athis lax attitude, I would have thought that based on the nature of the complaint he would have approach my car with his weapon drawn. Again, I based my responce based on his "Lax" attitude. As soon as he determined I was legal and a OC'er his attitude became even "Laxer" (if there even is such a word). Hence my decision to cooperate even further. As far as running the numbers off the gun, I wanted to know for sure if the gun was not stolen ever since I purchased it and a saw this as a opportunity to find out. If I had bought the gun new from a gun shop I woud have refused the request.

    Finally, I must say thatI really expected much more harsh criticism od my actions... so far so good... but the day is young.

    Oh yea, just because I choose to handle the situation in what I still beleive was a positive way, that does not make me a "sheep"...

    I chose my actions based on the "totality of the circumstances" and achived my desired results... I think that makes me.... smart.

    To all who replied so far, thanks for your honest input...

    Outdoorsman1

  14. #14
    Founder's Club Member protias's Avatar
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    He has no obligation to check.
    Your firearm is now in the "dirty gun" list since the serial number was searched in their database.
    You also have no idea if he is a good cop or bad. I would prefer to not speak with them and never volunteer any more information than is absolutely needed.
    No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson (1776)

    If you go into a store, with a gun, and rob it, you have forfeited your right to not get shot - Joe Deters, Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Prosecutor

    I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians. - George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

  15. #15
    Regular Member Outdoorsman1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glock34 View Post
    1. Can I check your gun to see if it's loaded ....NO .. Probable cause ??? .... GET WARRANT
    2. Can I see your ID ? ....NO Open carry is legal, I have violated no law
    3. Where did you get your gun...NONE of your business
    4. Can I run your Pistol to see if it's stolen ? ....NO .......GET WARRANT

    Dude.. I am glad you thought this was such a great interaction with a LEO but you reacted as the typical sheep would. Stand up for your self.... If you claim to know the law as well as you do......then you know that you could have said no to everything & the cops know that too.
    See my post above for my thoughts on the "sheep" comment...

    As far as "Can I check your gun to see if it's loaded ....NO .. Probable cause ??? .... GET WARRANT
    He HAD probable cause based on the complaint I had a LOADED weapon in my car...

    If you claim to know the law as well as you do......then you know that you could have said no to everything & the cops know that too.[/QUOTE]

    You are correct on this one... I could have said no to everything... but I can't help but wonder how that "attitude" would have affected HIS attitude and ultimately the outcome of this situation...

    Thanks again for your reply...

    Outdoorsman1

  16. #16
    Founder's Club Member protias's Avatar
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    Just continue to be calm.
    No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson (1776)

    If you go into a store, with a gun, and rob it, you have forfeited your right to not get shot - Joe Deters, Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Prosecutor

    I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians. - George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

  17. #17
    Regular Member Outdoorsman1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by protias View Post
    He has no obligation to check.
    Your firearm is now in the "dirty gun" list since the serial number was searched in their database.
    You also have no idea if he is a good cop or bad. I would prefer to not speak with them and never volunteer any more information than is absolutely needed.
    I am sorry I do noy understand.... Please define "dirty gun"

    Outdoorsman

  18. #18
    Regular Member Badger Johnson's Avatar
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    Glad you got out of the encounter virtually unscathed.

    Criticisms or comments:

    1. You were stopped as a vehicle stop, there was a report of a person you had a loaded gun in the car. However, analyzing this, if the cop pulls you over and asks you 'do you have a loaded weapon' by answering him you have now consented and talked so you've made it a consensual encounter. BUT I would have not allowed him to search your car nor would I have allowed him to open your LOCKED GUN CASE. Big mistake. Let's say in handling it he caused a ND. Let's say he wanted to trump up a charge - you have NO witnesses and you stupidly forgot to turn on your recorder. He could have said it was loaded and confiscated it and there was nothing you could do about it. Far-fetched, yes, but why open yourself to liability?

    2. You told him about where you bought your gun. It is not a legal demand. In doing so he TRICKED you into allowing him to run the serial or label you (perhaps) as uncooperative AND if I read it right you had been released from the traffic stop detainment.

    3. You let him handle and rack and unload your gun. Handling a gun is when NDs happen. If a complete stranger had asked you 'oh do you have a loaded gun, I might call the cops?' would you have taken him to your car, unlocked your gun, handed it to him and let him rack it and unload it and write down your serial? No, of course not. Then WHY did you let the LEO do it. There was no probable cause.

    Remember, 'I have nothing to hide' is NOT a logical thought when dealing with LE and allowing searches that are not legal with no SAF/RAF. If you consent to a search, the LEO, if you're both alone could easily plant something, or could find a spent brass cartridge from when you were at the range. Now he has to investigate that and rule out you didn't just do a drive by (or even something like shoot at a road sign).

    Finally, you have taught this cop that he has authority he doesn't have and got him used to doing things he has no right to do. You've made it harder on the next guy who is OC or CC and prints and who wants to stand up for his rights.

    Imagine you're standing in a line of OC-ers and 2A-ers and they all decline to talk except to exercise their rights and you jump up and say 'Oh, no problem, I'll spill it all and give you my gun'. Sounds goofy right, but that's exactly what you did.

    I do applaud you for typing up the report. I chide you for not running your recorder which should be TURNED ON when you enter your vehicle every time, no exceptions. It's not a 'turn it on when you see a cop thing'. So I hope you'll change that. Olympus makes all day recorders which run on 2AAA batteries.

    I also am disappointed that your gun is now in their database. If they come for your guns, you know whom to blame. (say a neighbor complains about you falsely).

    Hope future encounters go better.
    Last edited by Badger Johnson; 04-04-2011 at 09:59 AM.

  19. #19
    Regular Member 1FASTC4's Avatar
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    If he had PC, why did he ask?

    He said he got a complaint of a loaded gun in a car.... frankly he could have been lying. Maybe the report just said "gun in car" or "guy with gun" Notice the cop never pulled him over/ used his flashers on the OP... no RAS maybe?

    Since the LEO didn't pull the OP over, and the OP was out of the car by the time he encountered the LEO, there was indeed no need to produce ID. The OP was NOT operating a vehicle when he encountered the LEO

    I would have declined his request. Make him push PC instead of volunteering anything.

    Edit: However, I'm really glad things worked out for you. I'm not saying you did anything wrong by indicating how I would have done it.

    2nd edit: In fact, I'll go one farther. I'll bet lunch the cop was lying about the "loaded" part. Any way to get a copy of the dispatch? How the heck would the guy in the black truck know if your gun was loaded or not? Yup, the cop added the "loaded" part, I'm betting on it. Any takers?
    Last edited by 1FASTC4; 04-04-2011 at 10:22 AM.

  20. #20
    Founder's Club Member protias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1FASTC4 View Post
    2nd edit: In fact, I'll go one farther. I'll bet lunch the cop was lying about the "loaded" part. Any way to get a copy of the dispatch? How the heck would the guy in the black truck know if your gun was loaded or not? Yup, the cop added the "loaded" part, I'm betting on it. Any takers?
    I'm not going to take that because because 99.8% sure you'll win.
    No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson (1776)

    If you go into a store, with a gun, and rob it, you have forfeited your right to not get shot - Joe Deters, Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Prosecutor

    I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians. - George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

  21. #21
    Regular Member CalicoJack10's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qball54208 View Post
    As an individual that has Training and Experience from both the Civilian and Military side of LE, the Sheriff did have ALL the PC he needed based upon the observation of the complainant in the black truck. Hence an individual was operating a motor vehicle, he was required to produce ID also since LEO had PC, he could have searched the vehicle.
    All in all a completely LEGAL contact.
    What surprises me is the LAX attitude of the LEO staying in his squad, even knowing that an individual had a weapon, even during the contact, I DO NOT care how well you present yourself to LEO, they're ALWAYS "fishing" for unfo, since most PPL just offer up incriminating info about their actions.
    More to be learned here.
    Like said B4, you never know how you'll react to your first LEO contact until it actually happens.
    Good luck
    I was informed by a LEO that without consent, they could not lawfully search a vehicle anymore, even with PC. Could you please show me where the law is that says they can. Also, without the commission of a crime, I would like to see where you are required to produce identification. I have refused to give up my ID several times with no ill effect.
    Last edited by CalicoJack10; 04-04-2011 at 10:57 AM.
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  22. #22
    Regular Member oldschool's Avatar
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    I disagree with the probable cause aspect also.
    Just because you were not seen unloading and incaseing dose not mean you didn't I think probable cause would be being seen specifically putting an an uncased and or loaded(that would take much better eyes than mine) gun.in the car.

  23. #23
    Regular Member oldschool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalicoJack10 View Post
    I was informed by a LEO that without consent, they could not lawfully search a vehicle anymore, even with PC. Could you please show me where the law is that says they can. Also, without the commission of a crime, I would like to see where you are required to produce identification. I have refused to give up my ID several times with no ill effect.
    The way I read the fourth amendment probable cause is the benchmark to get a search warrant .


    But I'm no lawyer

  24. #24
    Founder's Club Member protias's Avatar
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    I am curious as to why the officer went back to get the license plate info since this was not a traffic stop.
    No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson (1776)

    If you go into a store, with a gun, and rob it, you have forfeited your right to not get shot - Joe Deters, Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Prosecutor

    I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians. - George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1FASTC4 View Post
    In fact, I'll go one farther. I'll bet lunch the cop was lying about the "loaded" part. Any way to get a copy of the dispatch? How the heck would the guy in the black truck know if your gun was loaded or not? Yup, the cop added the "loaded" part, I'm betting on it. Any takers?

    A cop would lie? Nooooooooooo It can't be!

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